At the start of 2021, Libya is at a cross-roads. Last year began in conflict, particularly around Tripoli, that killed, injured or displaced tens of thousands of people, by mid-year the fighting had ceased, which was formalized in October into a permanent ceasefire and reengagement in a political process. While previous attempts to resolve the conflict in Libya have been fleeting, 2021 offers a real possibility of peace and stability for Libyans. These initial steps now need to be translated into concrete actions to improve the lives of the most vulnerable people in the country.
Libyan and non-Libyans still face significant hardships.
The COVID-19 pandemic, as in many countries, continues to spread across the country, with a significant toll on the Libyan population and its fragile healthcare system.
Frequent water and electricity cuts, shortages in health care workers, medical supplies and personal protective equipment has resulted in further closures to health facilities making it even more difficult to combat the virus, as well as provide basic health care services.
The socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19, compounded by eight months of blocked oil production and a continuing economic crisis, has worsened people’s living conditions and coping capacities. Conflict and fragmented governance has led to a deterioration in the provision of basic services, further eroding people’s resilience. While the suspension of fighting has allowed many people to start returning to their homes, explosive hazard contamination is widespread, posing an obstacle to many who want to return and a risk to people’s lives and livelihoods until clearance can be undertaken.
Many migrants and refugees in Libya continue to face grave protection risks and violations of their human rights.
Instances of migrants and refugees being killed or injured are much too common and hundreds have been arbitrarily detained in inhumane conditions. Many continue to attempt the dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossing, at the cost of their lives.
In 2021, the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) has been expanded to meet the challenges faced by people who are the most vulnerable, particularly in view of the impact of COVID-19 on people’s lives and service delivery.
Of the 1.3 million people estimated to be in need, we plan on reaching 451,000 people with assistance and seeking to raise $189 million to this end. In comparison, in 2020, humanitarian partners reached 463,000 people across Libya with humanitarian assistance. Our efforts would not have been possible without the generous support of our donors. In 2020, the operation received 90 per cent of requested funding, the highest percentage in the world. With expanded needs in 2021, we look forward to working in partnership with our donors to assist the most vulnerable.
Working closely with the Libyan authorities and our partners, we believe the humanitarian community will be prepared to handle the multiple challenges that will require our response. This HRP outlines our plans based on a detailed analysis of needs and the financial requirements to respond to the most vulnerable people in need in Libya.
While the primary responsibility for the protection of the populations is with the Libyan authorities, the United Nations and non-government partners that have contributed to this plan will continue to support authorities in ensuring protection of civilians and will continue to assist Libyan communities who have shown exceptional commitment and solidarity. We look forward to the coming year as offering great hope for the country to begin the long road to recovery from years of conflict and violence while we remain vigilant to any potential crisis.