UNICEF Libya Country Office Humanitarian Situation Report No. 1 (January – March 2020)

Situation Report
Originally published



  • In 2020, around half a million children were put at risk while over 300,000 people were internally displaced as a result of attacks on different public facilities. Between January and March, seven schools were damaged while educational activities were interrupted in different areas of Libya due to ongoing armed conflict in a clear violation of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

  • Despite the challenging security situation, UNICEF Libya and partners provided 135,925 children and women with primary healthcare, while 21,479 people received hygiene items. A total of 60,647 children including 30,765 girls received educational learning material and 18,903 children and caregivers were trained on explosive ordnance risk education (EORE).

  • In January 2020, UNICEF Libya launched its 2020 Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) Appeal, which requires US$ 19.8 million to reach 268,000 children across Libya. The UNICEF Libya humanitarian response remains underfunded, with current funding gaps at US$ 15.7 million.

Situation in Numbers

268,000 children (<18) in need of humanitarian assistance (OCHA 2020 Libya Humanitarian Needs Overview)

893,000 people in need (Ibid.)

355,672 Internally displaced people (IDPs) (UNHCR Libya Update 27 March 2020)

653,800 Registered Migrants in the country (IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix – Round 29)

Funding Overview and Partnerships

In 2020, UNICEF is appealing for US$ 19.8 million to provide life-saving services for vulnerable and conflict affected Libyan and non-Libyan children and women. As of March 2020, the Governments of Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Sweden, and the United States have generously contributed to UNICEF’s humanitarian preparedness and response for Libya. UNICEF expresses its sincere gratitude to all public donors for the valuable contributions received. The 2020 Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) is still critically underfunded across all sectors, with an overall funding gap of 79 per cent (US$ 15.7 million). The child protection, education, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sectors are the most under-funded, significantly limiting UNICEF’s capacity to reach an estimated 100,0001 conflict-affected and vulnerable children and individuals with life-saving essential services. UNICEF implements all programmes aiming to assist the most vulnerable Libyan and non-Libyan conflict-affected or vulnerable migrant, refugees or internally displaced persons (IDP) in collaboration with relevant government ministries and 19 national and international non-governmental organizations.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

The armed conflict in Libya continues after nine years, and excluding the additional threat from COVID-19 pandemic, it is estimated that in the year 2020, around 1.8 million people will be affected and 893,000 people, 30 percent of which are children, will required human assistance, a third of them in acute need. The majority of those in need are in urban areas, primarily in the East and West Libya, though the less dense and rural south also remains highly vulnerable.

In the first quarter of 2020, indiscriminate attack on water structures, schools and medical facilities put around half a million children at risk while more than 300,000 people were internally displaced. With COVID-19 cases recorded in Libya, and the severe restrictions in movement, the humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable populations of migrants, refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) increased drastically. In March, a humanitarian pause was called upon by the international community and supported by the UN to facilitate the response to COVID-19, which was welcomed by both Government National Accord (GNA) and Libyan National Army (LNA). However, within 24 hours on the truce, both parties resumed mutual shelling which resulted in further material damage and loss of civilian lives , that impacted the COVID-19 and overall humanitarian response. Libya is also at an additional risk due to the active migration lines that are continuing to pass through the country, with COVID cases reported in the migrants’ countries of origin.

Between January and March 2020, seven schools were partially damaged. Schools in areas close of the fighting were forced to interrupt education activities, some of them for up to several weeks, in Ain Zara, Souq al Jouma, Tripoli, Hai Andalous and Misrata. WASH infrastructure and services have also deteriorated significantly, with only 60 per cent of households connected to the public water network and 90 per cent of untreated wastewater being disposed directly into the sea—increasing the risk of waterborne illness. Children increasingly suffer from psychosocial distress due to the conflict and remain highly vulnerable to unexploded remnants of war.

Libya has remained both a destination for migrants and a major transit country for migrants and refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. In 2020, there were more than 636,000 migrants were identified in Libya, out of which 44,520 were children. Of the latter, nearly 10,684 were separated or unaccompanied and at high risk of exploitation and abuse. Migrants and refugees continue to be at risk of killings, torture, arbitrary detention and unlawful deprivation of liberty, rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), slavery and forced labour, extortion and exploitation. Approximately 3,200 migrants and refugees in detention centres face extreme protection risks