LIBYA – CONTEXTUAL UPDATE
Libya is a country struggling due to years of uncertainty and political instability. Following widespread protests against the regime of Muammar Qaddafi, the 2011 Libyan Civil War broke out, leading to a stalemate between fragmented and self-directed armed groups.
Over the last ten years, the Libyan people have suffered tremendously from conflict, indiscriminate violence, but also from direct attacks on health care facilities, schools, water resources, and residential areas. Damage and destruction of essential facilities consequently led to collapse of functionality of society and to a major economic crisis. On 21 August 2020, a cessation of hostilities was announced and was followed by a permanent ceasefire agreement in all areas of Libya on 23 October 2020. Although the conflict was complex and dynamic, it was not the only crises Libya faced at this time. The first case of COVID-19 case in Libya was confirmed on 24 March 2020. Health structures already strained by the effects of armed conflict were unprepared for the pandemic. In addition to the global pandemic and the armed conflict, Libya was the hub of a third crisis connected to the global trend of migration and displacement – the ongoing European Migration Crisis. The country remains the main transitional point of the Central Mediterranean route.
The years of war and crisis have left many Libyan people displaced. Ever-shifting frontlines compelled some to return home, where they faced the risk of unexploded ordnance, returnees suffered many casualties including children, but also humanitarians and security workers. Almost one-sixth of the total population (1.3 million out of 7.4 million) in Libya are considered people in need. More details can be found in Humanitarian Needs Overview, 2021.