In April 2020, approximately 28,000 people (5,550 families) including 11,000 children were displaced from Tarhouna and Sirte due to the armed conflict in the Western Libya.
An increase in violation of international humanitarian and human rights laws was recorded during the reporting cycle as more than 127 casualties in Tripoli and surrounding areas from unexploded ordnance (UXOs) were reported. Additionally, more than 11 mass-graves were discovered in Tarhouna, prompting the UN Human Rights Council to commission a ‘fact-finding mission’ to investigate human rights violations.
Despite the challenging security and COVID-19 pandemic related situation, UNICEF reached 23,590 people with emergency response. In addition, UNICEF reached 323,795 children and women with primary health care. 8,131 were provided access to clean drinking water, while over 29,000 people were reached with mine/explosive weapons risk education.
UNICEF Libya’s Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) appeal 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$ 14.8 million (75 per cent).
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 their families. As at June 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 75 per cent (US$ 14.8 million). The education, child protection 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 and the UN agencies.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
The situation in Libya remained volatile throughout the reporting period with a conflict of variable intensity that continued to put the lives of civilians at risk and to generate new internal displacement. The suffering from the unprecedented bombing and shelling in urban areas in the Western Libya, deterioration of services and rapidly declining economy resulting in increased suffering of millions of children and their families in Libya cannot be underscored. Since the start of the year, at least 18 schools have been damaged as a result of the armed conflict, affecting around 15,890 children. Continuous attacks on the water system have jeopardized health and hygiene among the civilian population, particularly those most vulnerable, including children. At least 127 wells have been rendered out of services as a result of these 32 attacks, with roughly a loss of 650,000 m water/day. Regular long hours’ power cuts have further affected the people of Libya in areas of active conflict and surrounding areas. The attacks on health facilities also continued as during the reporting period, the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) documented two incidents targeting healthcare personnel, 3 nine assaults on health facilities and one attack on ambulance.
In April and May 2020, the aggressive offensive by the Government of National Accord (GNA) to control Tripoli and western areas saw the Libyan National Army (LNA) withdrawing from the frontlines and as a result, approximately 28,000 people (5,550 families) including 11,000 children were displaced from Tarhouna – one of the strongholds of the LNA, with majority of them displaced to Benghazi, Ejdabia, and Bani Waleed. Most of the IDPs moved with family members or rented houses, however, the authorities converted nine schools into IDP shelter centres4 to accommodate the IDPs from Tarhouna. Similarly, to accommodate the IDPs from Tarhouna, an additional nine schools were converted into IDP 5 shelters in June 2020, thus, bringing the total number of schools used as IDP shelter centres to 34.
The reporting period also saw an increase in reports of continuous violations of international humanitarian law after the withdrawal of the LNA from Tarhouna. Reportedly over 100 bodies including women and children were found in a hospital in Tarhouna. In addition, at least 19 unidentified bodies were discovered in 11 mass graves in Tarhouna. The GNA, UNSMIL and UN Secretary-General condemned the discovery of these mass graves and urged for a prompt and transparent investigations by commissioning a ‘fact-finding mission’ by the UN Human Rights Council. The withdrawal of the armed groups from the Western Libya brought about a grotesque turn. Land mines, Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), and explosiveremnants of war (ERW) have been found inand around civilian houses in Tripoli and western areas, putting populations on the move, especially IDPs and returnees, at significant risk. During May 22 to June 22, 2020, the Libyan Centre for Mine Action and War Remnants recorded a total of 127 victims from mine explosions in Tripoli and around Sirte, including 55 members of mine-clearing teams who were killed and injured during demining. On 28 May, UNICEF, together with the UNMAS and the LibMAC, condemned the use of IED/booby traps against civilians and impact 6 on children.