On Saturday, the United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF) confirmed that nearly 1.2 million people, including over 348,000 children, are in dire need to humanitarian aid in Libya.
In its report , the UNICEF added that is came as a result of the protracted armed conflict, political and economic crises, and the coronavirus pandemic.
The international organization explained that children and families are experiencing a rapid deterioration in public services – particularly education and health services – higher food and fuel prices due to cuts in state subsidies, loss of shelter and livelihoods, and significant protection challenges.
UNICEF expressed plans to work with government counterparts, civil society organizations, and the private sector to realize its humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding strategy in Libya while maintaining the capacity for a rapid response at the onset of new emergencies.
UNICEF noted that it and its partners require US$49.1 million to spearhead emergency preparedness and response interventions in Libya in 2021.
It said that given the major needs linked to COVID-19, the priority interventions for 2021 include health, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), education, and child protection.
During the first half of 2020, there were nearly 500 civilian casualties, including 79 children.
As of August 2020, over 392,000 displaced persons and nearly 494,000 returnees required humanitarian assistance, including safe drinking water, sanitation facilities and access to health care, education and protection services.
In areas affected by armed conflict, families are vulnerable to explosive hazards. Overall, some 681,000 people need health and nutrition assistance; 315,000 need safe water, sanitation and hygiene; 283,000 children need protection; and 165,000 children need access to schooling.
Continued political instability has weakened state institutions and damaged the economy.
Children and families are experiencing a rapid deterioration of public services, higher food and fuel prices, loss of livelihoods, and serious protection challenges.
The conflict has left housing and infrastructure across the country – including schools and health facilities – severely damaged. In March 2020, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, immunization services ceased and the only tertiary care facility in Tripoli closed.
Critical gaps in medical supplies and staffing have also been reported. Children are disproportionately affected by armed conflict and are at high risk of violence, exploitation, trafficking, gender-based violence, recruitment by armed groups and unlawful detention.
Libya remains both a destination and major transit centre for migrants and refugees. As of August 2020, there were nearly 585,000 migrants and refugees in Libya, including nearly 47,000 children (nearly 12,000 of whom are unaccompanied).