Due to the protracted armed conflict, political and economic crises and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, nearly 1.2 million people, including over 348,000 children, require humanitarian assistance in Libya.
Children and families are experiencing a rapid deterioration in public services – particularly education and health services – higher food and fuel prices due to cuts in state subsidies, loss of shelter and livelihoods, and significant protection challenges.
UNICEF will work with government counterparts, civil society organizations and the private sector to realize its humanitarian, development and peacebuilding strategy in Libya, while maintaining capacity for a rapid response at the onset of new emergencies.
UNICEF and partners require US$49.1 million to spearhead emergency preparedness and response interventions in Libya in 2021. Given the major needs linked to COVID-19, the priority interventions for 2021 include health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education and child protection.
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION AND NEEDS
Humanitarian needs continue to rise in Libya due to the protracted political crisis, armed conflict and now the COVID-19 pandemic. Tribal violence and armed groups continue to displace families, affect access to basic services and hinder humanitarian access. The conflict between the Libyan National Army and the Government of National Accord escalated in 2019 and 2020, with heavy fighting in civilian areas in greater Tripoli.
During the first half of 2020, there were nearly 500 civilian casualties, including 79 children.
As of August 2020, over 392,000 displaced persons and nearly 494,000 returnees required humanitarian assistance, including safe drinking water, sanitation facilities and access to health care, education and protection services. In areas affected by armed conflict, families are vulnerable to explosive hazards. Overall, some 681,000 people need health and nutrition assistance; 315,000 need safe water, sanitation and hygiene; 283,000 children need protection; and 165,000 children need access to schooling.
Continued political instability has weakened state institutions and damaged the economy.
Children and families are experiencing a rapid deterioration of public services, higher food and fuel prices, loss of livelihoods, and serious protection challenges. The conflict has left housing and infrastructure across the country – including schools and health facilities – severely damaged. In March 2020, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, immunization services ceased and the only tertiary care facility in Tripoli closed. Critical gaps in medical supplies and staffing have also been reported. Children are disproportionately affected by armed conflict and are at high risk of violence, exploitation, trafficking, gender-based violence, recruitment by armed groups and unlawful detention.
Libya remains both a destination and major transit centre for migrants and refugees. As of August 2020, there were nearly 585,000 migrants and refugees in Libya, including nearly 47,000 children (nearly 12,000 of whom are unaccompanied).
Migrants and refugees are exceptionally vulnerable given their migration status, significant protection risks and lack of access to social services.
COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality rates have been steadily rising across Libya, with over 35,000 confirmed cases and nearly 600 deaths.10 There is an acute shortage of tests, laboratory capacities are limited, and water and electricity shortages have undermined basic hygiene practices. Schools have been closed since mid-March 2020.