European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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Ten years into the Libyan revolution, the situation in the country continues to deteriorate. Weak governance and political instability have fuelled outbreaks of violence and clashes between armed groups. While Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa, competition for these natural resources has only exacerbated the violence. Parties to the conflict are violating International Humanitarian Law. The EU is the biggest donor of humanitarian aid to the Libyan people in need of protection, education, basic services and health care.

What are the needs?

Due to the recurrent clashes between opposing armed groups, forcibly displaced people require emergency life-saving assistance. People most hit by the conflict have limited access to primary healthcare, clean water and sanitation, but also other basic services. The ongoing fighting has disrupted the access to education, keeping 116,000 students out of school, with closed schools totalling 220 in Tripoli and surrounding areas.

More than 820,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance. There are frequent medicine shortages and inadequate health service providers. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 20% of public hospitals and health facilities are closed due to destruction, damage or occupation. Crime and human trafficking are rampant, with reports of abduction, abuse and smuggling.

Access for aid organisations to many affected areas is irregular and difficult. It is a priority to provide people affected by the conflict with protection and healthcare. The most vulnerable displaced people also need food, shelter, basic hygiene, and essential items. Humanitarian organisations call for the protection of civilians, unimpeded access to those in need, and the respect of International Humanitarian Law and humanitarian principles, which should extend to healthcare staff and infrastructure.

How are we helping?

Since 2014, the European Union has allocated a total of €46.3 million in humanitarian aid to respond to the most pressing needs in Libya. Humanitarian funding amounted to €9 million in 2018 and €8 million in 2019. Assistance is provided to vulnerable internally displaced people, returnees and host populations, in conflict-affected areas, including migrants and refugees.

The EU supports access to essential healthcare for victims of the conflict, including emergency war surgery, physical rehabilitation, prosthesis and psychosocial support, essential medicines and care for survivors of gender-based violence. It contributes to the restoration of primary healthcare services in conflict-affected areas. The services are provided indiscriminately to all vulnerable people, including migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

Since April 2019, due to the ongoing conflict in and around Tripoli, health facilities have been assisted with war surgery, trauma kits, and essential medicines. In other locations, EU-funded humanitarian organisations have also supplied essential medicines (for trauma, obstetric and non-communicable diseases). However, in some cases, security incidents have had a severe impact on aid delivery.

Funds also help to provide food assistance and livelihood support to vulnerable internally displaced people, returnees, and refugees. In  regions where preconditions are in place, the most vulnerable people who are excluded from social protection schemes 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 needs.

EU-funded humanitarian organisations have contributed to the restoration of essential education services in conflict-stricken Benghazi and Sirte. This 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’s humanitarian and development departments work together to ensure a link and close cooperation between short-term emergency assistance and longer-term development aid, notably in the health sector.

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