The situation in Libya remains volatile and civilians are suffering the direct consequences of the conflict that has been going on for more than six years. Access to health care is the priority for people affected by the conflict. The most vulnerable displaced people need food, shelter and basic hygiene and household items. 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.
Because of recurrent clashes between opposing armed groups, forcibly displaced people require emergency life-saving assistance. People most affected by the conflict have limited access to primary health care, clean water and sanitation, and other basic services.
There are 1.1 million vulnerable people who barely have access to health care. There are frequently medicine shortages, and, according to the World Health Organization, 17.5% of the hospitals and 20% of public health facilities are closed due to destruction, damage or occupation. Because of the liquidity crisis people cannot access their salaries and bank deposits. Crime and human trafficking are on the rise, with horrific reports of abduction, abuse, and smuggling.
Several aid organisations have temporarily relocated from Libya for security reasons. As a result, access to affected areas is irregular and difficult. It is not always possible to assess the needs and deliver 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 €29.76 million in humanitarian aid to respond to the most pressing needs since 2014. Assistance is provided to vulnerable internally displaced people, returnees and host populations, in conflict-affected areas, including migrants and refugees.
EU humanitarian aid 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 Commission also supports the ‘Rapid Response Mechanism’ set up by humanitarian organisations to facilitate quick provision of basic humanitarian assistance when there is a new forced displacement or another shock.
In Tripoli, when recent fighting led to dozens of civilians’ casualties in early September, health facilities were assisted with war surgery and trauma kits as well as 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 can be in the form of vouchers, bank transfers, e-cards or cash-in-hand, depending on the context, location and the needs of those receiving the assistance.
EU-funded humanitarian organisations have contributed to the restoration of essential education services in conflict-stricken Benghazi and Sirt, which has enabled thousands of girls and boys to access basic education and to receive psychosocial support.
Libya also receives development and early recovery funding through other EU instruments, including the EU Trust Fund for Africa. The EU Humanitarian and Development directorates work together to ensure there is a nexus between the short term emergency assistance and the longer term development measures, notably regarding the health sector.