The situation in Libya remains volatile and civilians are suffering the direct consequences of the conflict that has lasted for more than eight years. Access to healthcare for the people affected by the conflict is a priority. The most vulnerable displaced people need food, shelter, basic hygiene and household items. Humanitarian organisations call for the protection of civilians, the respect of International Humanitarian Law and principles, including the respect of healthcare staff and infrastructure, and the unimpeded access of humanitarian assistance to those in need.
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, and other basic services.
There are over 800 0000 vulnerable people who barely have access to healthcare. There are frequent medicine shortages, and according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 17.5 percent of the hospitals and 20 percent of public health facilities are closed due to destruction, damage or occupation. Crime and human trafficking are rampant, with horrific reports of abduction, abuse, and smuggling.
Access by aid organisations to certain affected areas is irregular and difficult. For this reason, it is not always possible to assess the needs and deliver timely assistance. Humanitarian organisations call for unimpeded access of humanitarian assistance for civilians in need and for a clear demarcation of humanitarian aid to be made to prevent the further shrinking of an already very limited humanitarian space.
Since 2014, the European Union has allocated a total of €44.3 million in humanitarian aid to respond to the most pressing needs in Libya. In 2018, humanitarian funding amounted to €9 million. 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 healthcare 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 healthcare services in conflict-affected areas. The services are provided indiscriminately to all vulnerable people, including migrants and asylum seekers.
The EU also supports the ‘Rapid Response Mechanism’ set up by humanitarian organisations to facilitate the quick provision of basic humanitarian assistance when there is a new forced displacement or another shock.
In September 2018, in the wake of fighting in the capital Tripoli that led to dozens of civilians’ casualties, health facilities were 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 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 are 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 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 there is a link and close cooperation between short-term emergency assistance and longer-term development measures, notably regarding the health sector.