Since 2011, Libya is torn by conflict and political fragmentation. A ceasefire signed in October 2020 has given way to a new political process. Electricity, cash assistance and COVID-19 vaccination are improving. However, the conflict-shattered economy and pandemic impact have exhausted the coping capacities of the most vulnerable, including migrants. The return of internally displaced people is hampered by land mines, lack of basic services and employment. The EU is the largest humanitarian donor in Libya.
What are the needs?
After years of conflict, the United Nations estimates that some 643,000 Libyans have returned home while 212,000 remain internally displaced. Mine contamination and the lack of perceived safety, jobs, and basic services deter people from returning home.
Over 610,000 migrants, asylum seekers and refugees from over 43 nationalities are residing in Libya. More than 5,000 migrants are held in detention centres where they are exposed to inhumane conditions, lacking the most basic protection.
In 2021, the humanitarian community aims to support 451,000 vulnerable people with humanitarian aid, despite the security and bureaucratic challenges. The broken economy and COVID-19 have led to increased food prices. Despite some improvement the last year, the most vulnerable people are still struggling to meet their basic needs such as food, health care, education, protection, shelter and water.
Some 800,000 people have limited access to health care. Medicines shortages are frequent. Lack of healthcare resources make it difficult to deal effectively with the coronavirus pandemic.
Displaced Libyans, people without legal status, refugees and migrants struggle to obtain civil documentation, needed to access services and assistance. At least 253 schools were damaged in the past decade. COVID-19 related school closures and inconsistent electricity and internet have been detrimental to children’s education.
How are we helping?
Since 2011, the EU has allocated €84.3 million in humanitarian aid to Libya, including €9 million in 2020 and another €9 million in 2021.
Our funding this year helps to address the most pressing needs in the country and supports the COVID-19 vaccination rollout. EU humanitarian partners are ensuring that people in need can access health care, education, protection and cash assistance.
Multipurpose cash assistance is given to extremely vulnerable people who are excluded from social protection schemes and resort to negative coping strategies such as skipping meals or keeping their children out of school.
Protection interventions focus on the impact of the conflict on civilians. EU partners support survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and of other forms of violence, abuse and exploitation. The EU also funds child protection and education for children who are out of school or at risk of dropping out.
EU humanitarian aid has helped to restore education in the East of the country, allowing children to learn in a safe environment. In 2021, the EU continues to support child protection and education services across Libya.
Legal assistance is helping beneficiaries to receive legal documentation such as birth registration and marriage certificates.
Health interventions include (i) emergency and primary healthcare, (ii) physical rehabilitation and orthopaedic services, (iii) mental health and psychosocial support, (iv) reproductive health services, and (v) care for survivors of gender-based violence.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, EU humanitarian partners stepped up awareness raising campaigns and hygiene promotion among vulnerable communities. They also adapted aid programmes to limit the risk of infection, switching to alternative approaches for psychosocial support and education.
The EU also supports the promotion of international humanitarian law, humanitarian coordination and the UN Humanitarian Air Service which is critical to reach otherwise inaccessible locations.
EU-funded humanitarian aid is indiscriminately given to vulnerable people, based on needs and regardless of their nationality or status. In sudden onset disasters or displacements, we support the distribution of mattresses, blankets and hygiene kits.
Libya also receives development and early-recovery assistance through other EU funding sources such as the EU Trust Fund for Africa. In a nexus approach, the EU’s humanitarian aid and development departments work together to ensure a link between short-term emergency assistance and longer-term development aid, notably in the health sector.
In addition, the European Commission is providing €100 million in humanitarian assistance to support the roll-out of vaccination campaigns in countries in Africa with critical humanitarian needs and fragile health systems. At least €5 million of this funding will be supporting vaccination of the most vulnerable in northern Africa, including €3 million in Libya.