Libya: Now the massive civilian deaths start

Okay, so now the “Rebels” have “control” of Libya. They’ve “killed their father” (not literally) and now they find out how hard it is to actually run a “free” country.

It’s late August and blazingly hot. The bulk of Libya’s population live near the Mediterrean coast. Water is a scarce resource, and without water, you’re dead in less than a week.

Tripoli has a population of around 2 million people. There are three main sources of water.

1) Desalinization plants – they require massive amounts of oil or natural gas to do their work. At the moment, domestic production is completely stopped and no idea when that will change.

2) the Great Manmade river – a very expensive 500 mile underground tunnel carrying water from an underground acquafer under the South Sahara desert. NATO bombed it, it may have been sabotaged, there is no electricity to make the pumps work. Tripoli has had no water in 45 days and the reservoir is bone dry.

3) Old wells – generally brackish, since they were overused and salt water will be drawn in from the sea

Aid Agencies are trying to arrange trucking to bring in water from Tunisia (which surely also has a finite supply) and a few pallets of bottled water from Europe.

Minimum water for survival in a normal climate is 3 liters per day per person. To have sanitation, food preparation and hygiene necessary to prevent disease is around 50 liters (12 gallons) per person per day.

If the new “government” fails to address this, they’re going to get very unpopular very fast, even if Qadaffi is killed. I’m sure France would be glad to sell them water for $20 a gallon.

The Bedouin nomads with their camels will survive as they have for centuries. The returning expats who are used to living in London and having Pakistani servants do their work – may not have quite the same survival skills.

Obligation to Protect: the ball is in your court now.

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