• On 16 December the Libyan National Army (LNA) announced a ‘zero hour’ to capture Tripoli and the rest of western Libya. This resulted in intensified fighting, including indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas, in Southern Tripoli and Western Libya and displaced 9,863 families (149,315 individuals, approx. 59,726 children) from their homes.
• Children continue to pay the highest price in the conflict in Libya: since the launch of ‘zero hour’ to take Tripoli and Western Libya on 16 December five schools have been partially destroyed and 210 schools were forced to close in Ain Zara, Abu Salim and Souq Al Jumaa area, pushing 115,000 children out of school.
• 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
In 2019, UNICEF appealed for US $23.4 million to sustain the provision of life-saving services for vulnerable and conflictaffected children in Libya. The UN Central Emergency Response Fund, the German Development Cooperation, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency generously contributed to UNICEF’s humanitarian response in Libya. UNICEF expresses its sincere gratitude to all public donors for the contributions received. However, the 2019 HAC faced a funding gap of 63 per cent by end year. In 2020, UNICEF requires US $26.3 million to meet the needs of 415,000 people, including 343,000 children. Funds are critically needed to deliver essential health, nutrition, WASH, child protection and education services to conflict-affected and vulnerable Libyan and non-Libyan women and children. Without sufficient funding, UNICEF will not be able to continue providing life-saving interventions, such as immunization for 250,000 children or mine risk education for 50,000 children.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
Over seven years of conflict in Libya affected 1.6 million people at the beginning of 2019, of whom 823,000 were in need of humanitarian assistance—including 241,000 children. 1 The majority of those in need are located in urban areas, primarily in the west and east, though the less-dense and rural south also remains highly vulnerable.
The latest escalation of hostilities, which began in April 2019, featured indiscriminate attacks on populated areas and infrastructure that disproportionately affected civilians and put up to 500,000 children at risk. At least 284 civilians were killed and 363 were injured2 while more than 140,000 people were internally displaced. 3 Some internally displaced people reside with extended families in host communities, while others have found refuge in shelters (including converted schools) in and around Tripoli.
At least five schools were partially destroyed in December and 115,000 children in 210 schools in Ain Zara, Abu Salim and Souq Al Jum’aa were prevented from attending classes until end year.4 WASH infrastructure and services have also deteriorated significantly, with only 65% of households connected to the public water network and 90% of untreated waste water 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 is also a leading transit country for refugees and migrants—over 630,000 migrants are currently registered, including more than 57,000 children. Of the latter, nearly 15,000 were separated or unaccompanied and at high risk of exploitation and abuse. 5 Approximately 101,073 migrants are living in conflict-affected Tripoli of which 4,475 are held in detention in Tripoli close to the conflict-lines.6 The Central Mediterranean Route from Libya to Europe remains the deadliest in the region, with 750 deaths recorded in 2019.7