UNICEF Libya Humanitarian Situation Report, January - June 2019

Situation Report
Originally published



• Eight years of insecurity in Libya has resulted in 241,000 boys and girls in urgent need of life-saving humanitarian assistance throughout the country. The majority of the people in need are in urban areas of the country.

• Following a military offensive on Western Libya which began on 04 April and has put up to 500,000 children at risk UNICEF and its partners have expanded the emergency response to ensure that all conflict-affected children and their families have life-saving health, education, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and child protection support. Through a Rapid Response Mechanism, UNICEF together with the International Organisation for Migration, the United Nations Populations Fund and World Food Programme, reached more than 25,000 conflict-affected individuals with a minimum life-saving package of assistance.

• Following heavy flooding in Ghat between 28 May -05 June which affected 20,000 people in the municipality, UNICEF responded between 48 hours to the floods by providing safe drinking water to 3,014 people, water treatment tables to 7,747 beneficiaries of which 1,661 are children and implemented a fumigation and waste cleaning campaign for 5,656 people (2,771 males and 2,884 females.) Despite the ongoing crisis in Western Libya as well as through the rest of the country, UNICEF has only received USD 4.17m against the2019 appeal of USD 23.4 million, representing a shortfall of 15.38 million (64.3 percent) to provide lifesaving child protection, education, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Nutrition and Health support to up to 250,000 of the most vulnerable children throughout the country.


823,000 # of people in need of humanitarian assistance

248,000 # of children in need of humanitarian assistance

97,000 # of Internally Displaced People

288,000 # of Migrants in need of humanitarian assistance

250,000 # of children targeted

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

In 2019, Libya entered its eighth year of insecurity and protracted conflict, a period marked by frequent clashes between rival armed groups that has been exacerbated by intertwined political and economic instability. In addition, widespread damage to the basic infrastructure, security threats associated with armed group activity and severe shortages of cash liquidity have undermined the future prospects of Libyan and non-Libyan residents and affected their livelihoods and their access to basic social services. At the beginning of 2019, 1.6 million people were reported to be impacted by the current crisis in Libya, and 823,000 people across the country including 241,000 girls and boys needing humanitarian assistance.1 The majority of people in need, according to the Humanitarian Needs Overview which served as the foundation for the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan, are located in urban areas, primarily in the western and eastern regions of the country.

The humanitarian situation has been exacerbated since 04 April 2019 when the Libyan National Army launched an offensive on Tripoli that was met with defence from the Government of National Accord and affiliated armed groups.

Up to 500,000 children have been put at risk by this ongoing conflict and civilians have been caught in the cross fire, resulting in 5,863 casualties including 910 deaths, 50 of which were civilian deaths2 . The ongoing violence has also forced 105,000 people, the majority of whom are from areas in southern Tripoli, to flee from their homes.3 By 01 July, 47 collective shelters have been established in Western Libya by the Tripoli crisis committee to host 3,890 of these displaced persons.4 As the conflict in Libya continues, child protection gaps and violence against children continue to be reported in homes, schools and communities. Since the inception of the conflict in Tripoli on 04 April children have been reported to suffer from psychosocial stress due to the ongoing conflict and children and their families are reported to be at increased risk to unexploded ordnances (UXO) and explosive devices.5 While Libya does not have a formal United Nations Security Council Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (Security Council Resolution 1612), Libya is a situation of concern for grave violations against children..

The protracted crisis in Libya continues to impact children’s access to quality education. Though Libya has traditionally had a high school enrolment rate, there has been a steady decline in enrolment and the quality of education due to the limited investments towards teacher professional development and school infrastructure. The conflict in Western Libya that broke out on 04 April has further impacted Libya’s education system: 21 are schools are reported to be used as collective centres to host displaced persons in and around Tripoli and the high levels of violence led to the suspension of the school year in impacting the education of some 122,088 school age children in nine districts in and around Tripoli. Many conflict, and displaced-affected children are suffering from psychosocial distress or trauma, affecting their ability to learn and develop to their fullest potential.

The steady deterioration of health services and health infrastructure during 2018 is evidenced by the disrupted access to and investment in health facilities, as well as the increase in communicable and non-communicable diseases. In 2019, an estimated 17.5 percent of hospitals, 20 percent of primary health care facilities and 18 specialized hospitals are partially damaged or completely destroyed throughout the country.6 Health workers have been targeted by the recent conflict in Western Libya: since 04 April 2019, ambulances have been struck, six health workers have been killed and 12 have been wounded while four health facilities have been hit by airstrikes.7

Water and sanitation services and infrastructure have continued to deteriorate. Displaced and conflict-affected communities are particularly vulnerable to the negative consequences of a deterioration in hygiene and sanitation services. Thirty three percent of schools in Libya do not have access to WASH services.8 Sporadic attacks on water infrastructure had been reported since the start of clashes in April 2019, making it difficult for Man Made River Project (MMRP) staff to carry on routine maintenance of infrastructure. Furthermore, frequent electricity cuts have been reported from the violence and there is a breakdown of the waste management system which, in addition to the electricity cuts, could have severe impacts on access to and availability of clean water and increases the risk of waterborne disease outbreaks including cholera.

Between 28 May-05 June the municipality of Ghat in southern Libya experienced heavy rain which caused flooding, damaging several locations in the municipality, impacting 20,000 people and resulting in four deaths, including three children and 30 injuries. 4,250 people were displaced from their homes because of the flooding, of which 1,200 were hosted in five collective shelters. Water infrastructure was also damaged and contaminated by the flooding, increasing the risk of disease outbreaks including acute watery diarrhoea and damaging telecommunications networks. By 11 June 22 cases of acute water diarrhoea were recorded due to the flooding.

Libya has always been a migratory crossroads but in recent years mixed migration, including children on the move (asylum seekers, economic migrants, unaccompanied and separated children, environmental migrants, victims of trafficking and stranded migrants) 11has increased by 33 percent since 2014. 12 By May 2019 there were an estimated 641,398 migrants, including almost 58,000 children, 20,000 of which were separated or unaccompanied. Migrants and asylum-seekers face multiple violations of their basic rights, including movement restrictions, high levels of genderbased violence, systematic and arbitrary detention with inhumane conditions, unlawful killings, disappearances, kidnapping, extortion and robbery. Children on the move have very limited access to or are out of school and are discriminated against in regard to access to essential healthcare services. Reports also indicate that migrants at times lack access to adequate quality and quantities of food. There are approximately 5,000 migrants and refugees, including children, hosted in 20 detention centres across the country. Since the inception of the conflict in Western Libya on 04 April, 3,800 migrant and refugees are being held in detention centres in Western Libya close to conflict lines putting them at increased risk.

Access into and throughout Libya has expanded and improved since the United Nations increased its international presence in June 2018. In the first half of 2019, humanitarian missions were organized for the first time to Derna, Sebha and Ghat, marginalized cities in the far south of Libya. OCHA has created also a central access working group in which UNICEF is a key member. However, cross-line access to people in need remains a challenge especially with the different clearances procedures required, lack of a clear deconfliction mechanism for staff and partners, and the huge size of the country itself which complicates logistics.