Foreword by the Humanitarian Coordinator
It is almost five years since violence, conflict and instability spread to almost every corner of Libya. The crisis continues to deepen, with over three million people affected, nearly half of Libya’s population. The Libyan people have suffered tremendously and are now exhausted as they continue to live in fear for their safety and future. Many have lost their homes, livelihoods and loved ones.
Today, the ongoing violence maintains a terrible hold over the population, depriving the most vulnerable of their basic needs and triggering large-scale displacements. Libyans have been forced to flee on multiple occasions. The fighting has caused extensive damage to infrastructure and livelihoods. The streetscapes of Benghazi are unrecognizable, destroyed by explosive weapons. Access to food, water, sanitation and shelter has deteriorated dramatically and the fragile healthcare system is on the brink of collapse.
For five years, Libyans have lived with the daily reality of threats and violence. As ever, refugees, migrants, internally displaced persons, women, children and the disabled have suffered most from a conflict that has claimed thousands of lives and left thousands more injured. Explosive remnants of war litter the landscape, threatening further harm. Gender-based violence and forced recruitment increasingly threaten women and children in their own communities.
Libya’s operating environment remains insecure and hostile for humanitarian actors. This Humanitarian Response Plan provides a way forward to tackle the challenges inherent in planning and responding to large-scale needs in a volatile setting. It is the most comprehensive Libyan response plan to date, benefiting from an improved humanitarian needs assessment and a rigorous planning phase.
As 2015 draws to a close, Libya’s future hangs in the balance. Any further deterioration of the crisis will be felt throughout the region as inhumane conditions and a loss of hope drive more to flee across borders, or on perilous boat journeys in search of safety in Europe.
We need to act now to mitigate the devastating effects of this long-running conflict. There is much that we can do, equipped with better information and strengthened coordination mechanisms. All the force of our efforts must now combine to open up humanitarian access, bolster national capacity, and deliver a calibrated and efficient response.
With all eyes on the prospects for a political agreement in Libya, I urge all parties to cease hostilities and achieve reconciliation, while prioritising the humanitarian needs of the people of Libya. Assistance must urgently reach the most vulnerable to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe. The international community, in line with our obligations as humanitarians and guided by humanitarian principles, must immediately join hands and support people affected by this crisis.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.