UNICEF Libya Humanitarian Situation Report, July - September 2019

Situation Report
Originally published



  • At least 4,915 school students in Tripoli in July and August were impacted due to schools damaged from shelling. UNICEF remains concerned about the continued violence in Western Libya and in and around Tripoli which has displaced 128,150 people and continues to subject children to death, injuries and violence. On 3 July an airstrike hit a detention centre in Tripoli- the Tajoura Detention Centre- killing 53 migrants and injuring over 130 of them during the attack.

  • Following the uptick in violence in the Southern municipality of Murzuq in August 2019, UNICEF as part of the inter-agency response, provided four interagency emergency health kits to three hospitals and health care facilities sufficient to support 24,000 people for three months and distributed 1,025 hygiene kits to 5,125 displaced persons, including 2,050 children. UNICEF also prepositioned and distributed 100 emergency food rations to support 400 vulnerable children and pregnant and lactating women impacted by the conflict.

  • The UNICEF humanitarian response remains underfunded. The current funding gap stands at US$14.8 million until the end of 2019 with major funding gaps in all life-saving health and nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, education and child protection activities.

Funding Overview and Partnerships

UNICEF appealed for US$ 23.4 M in 2019 to sustain provision of life-saving services for vulnerable and conflict affected Libyan and non-Libyan women and children. In 2019, the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the German Development Cooperation, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) have generously contributed to UNICEF’s humanitarian preparedness and response for Libya. UNICEF expresses its sincere gratitude to all public donors for the contributions received. However, the 2019 Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) still has a funding gap of 63 per cent (US$ 14.8 million). Without an urgent contribution of US$ 540,000, UNICEF will not be able to provide life-saving mine risk education (including on unexploded ordances) to 50,000 conflict-affected and vulnerable children. 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 18 national and international non-governmental organizations.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

Over seven years of conflict in Libya has impacted 1.6 million people. Out of these, of which 823,000 people across the country including 241,000 girls and boys need humanitarian assistance. The majority of the people in need are located in urban areas, primarily in the western and eastern regions of the country while there has also been a deterioration of the humanitarian situation in southern Libya. It is to be noted that the overall humanitarian situation in the South is generally endemically more dire than in the rest of the country. However, the total figures are lower in the South as it is less densely populated than the coastal areas of North-Eastern and North-Western Libya.

Since the 4 April escalation of the conflict in Western Libya when the Libyan National Army (LNA) launched an offensive on Tripoli that was met by defense from the Government of National Accord (GNA) and affiliated armed groups, the causality toll has been heavy with over 1,000 fatalities, including at least 100 civilian deaths and over 300 civilian injuries reported. A total of 128,150 people fled from their homes – some of these IDPs are being hosted by extended families or in rental accommodations while less advantaged displaced persons found refuge in the IDP shelters in and around Tripoli. Thirteen (13) schools are being used as collective shelters for which the Ministry of Education (MOE) is seeking a solution with the crisis committee and the Minister of State for Displacement to ensure the academic school year can begin in these schools. Civilians continue to be impacted by indiscriminate shelling and an increase in unexploded ordnances is putting children and their families at increased risk. Violations of international law and international humanitarian law have been reported with attacks on health facilities and health workers have also been frequent with 12 deaths and 48 injuries to health workers being reported since April 2019. Humanitarian space has also decreased since the 4 April offensive on Western Libya with areas like Tarhouna, Gharyan, Surman and Zintan difficult to reach.

Children and women have been reported to suffer from psychosocial stress due to the ongoing conflict and children. While Libya does not have a formal United Nations Security Council Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (Security Council Resolution 1612) nor a Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Arrangement (MARA) on conflict-related sexual violence (Security Council Resolution 1960), Libya is a situation of concern for grave violations against children and conflict related sexual violence.

The high levels of violence in Western Libya also led to the suspension of the academic school year for 122,088 school aged children in nine districts in and around Tripoli. While the academic school year is set to start in midOctober, the General Teachers Union has been implementing a sit-in since 13 September 2019 demanding the enactment of a law to increase salaries and medical insurance. Trash build up has also been reported in Western Libya due to the largest landfill in Tripoli being inaccessible since the beginning of the conflict, increasing the risk of waterborne diseases.

Ethnic violence between two tribes located in the southern municipality of Murzuq also increased in August 2019, resulting in 90 civilian deaths and 200 civilian injuries and uprooting 16,700 individuals from their homes, bringing the total number of IDPs in Libya to 301,407. Frequent electricity cuts and damage to infrastructure were reported, preventing hospitals from operating normally while public water and sanitation services are mostly unavailable.

Libya remains a migratory crossroads with 655,144 migrants currently registered in the country, including some 52,412 children of which 17,296 were separated or unaccompanied and are exposed to gross rights violations and harsh environmental conditions. On 3 July 2019 an airstrike targeting a Detention Centre in Tripoli-Tajour- hosting migrants and refugees killed 53 migrants and injured 130 others. The Central Mediterranean Route from Libya to Europe remains the deadliest migrant route on the Mediterranean, with 642 deaths already recorded in 2019.