Libya: Health Sector Bulletin (August 2020)

Situation Report
Originally published
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  • Lack of accountability

  • Absence of leadership and oversight

  • Acute shortages of tests, equipment and supplies

  • Inadequate health care services

    • WHO issued a statement on rapidly escalating rates of COVID-19 in Libya.

    • 38% of medical procedures took place in areas of severity scale higher than 3

    • A systematic evaluation of EWARN is in place.

    • “Health Diplomacy” project

    • Weakened Health Information Management System


Egyptian-Greek maritime agreement prompts Turkey to renew hydrocarbon exploration in the eastern Mediterranean. There are political tensions resurfacing within GNA Presidency Council. With the military frontlines now far from Tripoli and public discontent on the rise due to increasing power and water shortages in the West, the rivalry and divisions that prevailed within the Presidency Council (PC) are reappearing.

Municipal elections tentatively scheduled for 5 September in Misrata, and for 18 August in Kikla, Ghat and Traghan. Great Man-Made River (GMMR) Authority reports 149 attacks on wells in 2020. Water shortages in western region exacerbate impact of prolonged power cuts in the summer heat.

LAAF announced resumption of oil production and export from Libya.

On 6 August, an armed group near the town of Azzawya (western Libya) intercepted a truck on its way to Benghazi and Tobruk to deliver WHO supplies. They directed the driver to deliver the supplies to a nearby health care facility. WHO has repeatedly asked the national authorities in Tripoli to intervene and ensure the supplies are restored to WHO for distribution to health facilities in the east. As of 31 August, the supplies were not released back to WHO. Following incident of aid diversion by armed group, WHO requested the intervention of the national authorities and stresses principles governing humanitarian action.

The US and Germany continued to engage with the Libyan parties and regional powers, notably Egypt and Turkey, on a ceasefire and the establishment of a demilitarized zone (DMZ) around Sirte and al-Jufra.

Since LNA and allied armed forces withdrew from Tripoli in June 2020, the focus of the conflict has turned to Sirte and surrounding areas. should the GNA launch a military offensive to take Sirte, there will be significant humanitarian impact, including displacement and possible targeted retribution against individuals based on allegiance to either side that will require immediate response by partners.

On 21 August, Prime Minister (PM) al-Sarraj and House of Representatives (HoR) Speaker Saleh issued separate statements calling for a ceasefire. As President of the Presidency Council (PC) of the Government of National Accord (GNA), al-Sarraj “instructed all military forces” to cease hostilities. The statement stressed that an “effective” ceasefire required the demilitarization of Sirte and al-Jufra and called for the resumption of oil production and exports, as well as the accumulation of revenues in a dedicated external account of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) at the Central Bank of Libya (CBL), available for use by the Libyan authorities after the conflict is settled. The PM also reiterated his call for presidential and parliamentary elections to be held in March 2021 on the basis of an agreed constitutional framework. Acting SRSG Williams welcomed points of agreement in declarations by Prime Minister alSarraj and HoR Speaker Aquila Saleh calling for a ceasefire. Key military and political actors in the East and West dismissed the calls for a ceasefire. International reactions were overwhelmingly supportive.

GNA affiliated armed groups appeared to be vying for territorial control and areas of influence in the capital. IOM and UNHCR called for urgent action after at least 45 die in largest recorded shipwreck off the Libyan coast in 2020.

UNSMIL continued receiving information on migrants and asylum-seekers being subject to exploitation, forced labor, torture and ill-treatment, enforced disappearance, extortion and lack of food and access to health care. IOM/DTM published the Migrant Round 31 (May-June 2020) data collection, in which at least 600,362 migrants of over 46 nationalities were identified in Libya.

Over the week, the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) returned 285 migrants and asylum-seekers to Libya including 74 people (24 children and two women) to Tripoli on 18 August. As of 23 August, 7,127 refugees and migrants have been registered as rescued/intercepted at sea by the LCG and disembarked in Libya.

The frequency of the protest in Libya has been consistent for the last week of August. The demonstrations are characterized with blocking of roads and burning of tires. A number of protesters have been arrested while some are injured. In Tripoli, local security forces had blocked some roads and established checkpoints to deter the protesters from marching towards the venue of demonstrations despite the imposed curfew. There had been heavy deployment of security forces.