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Libya: UN seeks US$115 million to provide life-saving aid

17 Feb 2020


A displaced family in a settlement in Tripoli, Libya. Credit: OCHA/Giles Clarke

On 16 February, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Mr. Yacoub El Hillo, launched the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan for Libya (HRP), which seeks US$115 million to provide life-saving assistance this year.

The humanitarian community aims to reach about 345,000 people, out of the 893,000 people who need humanitarian assistance across Libya ‘s 22 mantikas or districts. The people who will receive assistance are assessed to be in acute need as a result of physical and mental harm, a partial or total collapse of living standards and basic services, and increased reliance  on extreme measures to cope with their situation, such as reducing number and size of meals they consume every day.

Since the outbreak of military hostilities in and around Tripoli on 4 April 2019, the humanitarian situation in Libya has further deteriorated at alarming rates, affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

“While the humanitarian situation is even more difficult than it was last year, we are appealing today for less financial resources compared to 2019”, said Mr. El Hillo. “This does not mean that the humanitarian needs have reduced, but enormous effort made by humanitarian actors and our Libyan counterparts helped us produce a more focused and prioritized plan designed to act as a catalyst for Libyan institutions, both national and local, to provide the assistance required by affected people.” Libya has been dealing with insecurity, political, and economic volatility since 2011. Instability allowed rival political parties and armed militias to compete for power and control over key territories and strategic assets. Governance structures have been eroded, state institutions weakened, and the economy damaged. With each passing year, people have struggled to withstand the impact of a crisis that has destabilized the country and driven humanitarian needs.

On 4 April 2019 the Libyan National Army launched an offensive to seize control of Libya’s capital, Tripoli, triggering a mobilization of counterforces operating under the command of the Government of National Accord. The conflict has become protracted, focused mostly in southern parts of Tripoli. However, fighting, particularly in the last months of 2019, has increasingly moved into populated areas, causing further civilian casualties and displacement.

As of January 2020, about 149,000 people have fled their homes. Internal displacement surged by 80 per cent in 2019 as a result of conflict in Tripoli and other areas, with 343,000 people now displaced across the country. 

Buildings and homes in Tawergha were destroyed in hositilities in 2011. Credit: OCHA/Intisar Alqsar

Despite the deteriorating situation, Libya remains a major destination and transit country for migrants and refugees. While in Libya, many are at risk of unlawful killings, torture, arbitrary detention, rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence, forced labour, extortion and exploitation. Of particular concern are more than 3,200 migrants estimated to be in detention centres, held under conditions of severe overcrowding and with insufficient access to food, clean water and sanitation. Wide-spread human rights violations have been recorded in these centres.

Already among the most vulnerable, some 2,000 migrants and refugees are in detention centres already exposed to or near fighting.

The 2020 HRP covers the efforts of 25 humanitarian partners to provide assistance. Humanitarian operations reached more than 400,000 people with assistance in 2019. This includes more than 95,000 people affected by the fighting in and around Tripoli.