The situation in Libya remains volatile and civilians are suffering the direct consequences of the protracted violence. Access to health care is the priority for people affected by the conflict. Vulnerable displaced people need food, shelter and basic items such as household, hygiene and cooking equipment to cope with the ongoing crisis. Humanitarian organisations call for the protection of civilians, respect of International Humanitarian Law and principles, including the respect of health staff and infrastructure, and unimpeded access of humanitarian assistance to those in need.
Very limited access to primary health care, clean water and sanitation, and other basic services are the main humanitarian concerns. Disruption of government support to the health and social protection systems deprives the most vulnerable in accessing essential health care and erodes their coping strategies. Due to intermittent clashes between opposing armed groups, forcibly displaced people require emergency life-saving assistance such as food, shelter, and health care.
There are 1.1 million vulnerable people who barely have access to health care. There are regular medicine shortages, and 17.5% of the hospitals and 20% of public health facilities are closed due to destruction, damages or occupation (WHO, 2017). The liquidity crisis prevents people from accessing their salaries and bank deposits. Crime and human trafficking are also on the rise, bringing daily horrific reports of abduction, abuse, and smuggling.
Access to population in need is limited. Many organisations have relocated for security reasons, which resulted in irregular access to affected areas while hampering needs assessment and delivery of timely relief assistance. Humanitarian organisations call for unimpeded access of humanitarian assistance for civilians in need and a clear differentiation of humanitarian aid to prevent further shrinking of an already very limited humanitarian space.
The European Commission has allocated a total of €29.7 million in humanitarian aid to respond to the most pressing needs since 2014. Assistance is provided to internally displaced people, returnees and other vulnerable groups in conflict-affected areas.
The European Commission supports access to essential health care for victims of the conflict including emergency war surgery, physical rehabilitation, prosthesis and psychosocial support, provision of essential medicines and care of gender-based violence survivors. It contributes to the restoration of primary health care services in conflict-affected areas. The services are provided indiscriminately to all vulnerable people including migrants and asylum seekers.
The European Commission supports a permanent stand-by "Rapid Response Mechanism" to react timely and effectively to the life-saving needs of forcibly displaced people, by providing them with food, shelter, and cooking, sleeping and hygiene items, depending on their needs.
In Sabrata, which has seen recent fighting, close to 2 000 households were reached with food rations and essential items. Health facilities were also assisted with trauma kits and essential medicines. In other locations, EU-funded humanitarian organisations have also supplied essential medicines (for trauma, obstetric and non-communicable diseases) but in some cases security incidents have had a severe impact on the aid delivery.
Funds also helped to provide food assistance to vulnerable internally displaced people, returnees and refugees. In selected regions where preconditions are in place, the most vulnerable people who are affected by the conflict and excluded from social protection mechanisms receive cash-based assistance. This cash assistance can be in the shape of vouchers, bank transfer, e-cards or cash-in-hand, depending on the context, location and the needs of the most vulnerable people.
EU-funded humanitarian organisations contributed to the restoration of essential education services in conflict-stricken Benghazi and Sirt, which enabled thousands of boys and girls to access basic education and to receive integrated recreational and psychosocial support services.
Libya also receives development and early recovery funding through other EU instruments, including the EU Trust Fund for Africa.