Humanitarian Action for Children
UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children appeal helps support the agency’s work as it
provides conflict- and disaster-affected children with access to water, sanitation, nutrition,
education, health and protection services. Return to main appeal page.
- Due to the protracted armed conflict, political and economic crises and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, nearly 1.2 million people, including over 348,000 children, require humanitarian assistance in Libya. Children and families are experiencing a rapid deterioration in public services – particularly education and health services – higher food and fuel prices due to cuts in state subsidies, loss of shelter and livelihoods, and significant protection challenges.
- UNICEF will work with government counterparts, civil society organizations and the private sector to realize its humanitarian, development and peacebuilding strategy in Libya, while maintaining capacity for a rapid response at the onset of new emergencies.
- UNICEF and partners require US$49.1 million to spearhead emergency preparedness and response interventions in Libya in 2021. Given the major needs linked to COVID-19, the priority interventions for 2021 include health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education and child protection.
Key planned results for 2021
120,000 children and women accessing health care
188,000 people reached with handwashing behaviour-change programmes
290,000 children / caregivers accessing mental health and psychosocial support
150,000 children accessing educational services
Funding requirements for 2021
Country needs and strategy
Humanitarian needs continue to rise in Libya due to the protracted political crisis, armed conflict and now the COVID-19 pandemic. Violence continues to displace families, affect access to basic services and hinder humanitarian access. The conflict between the Libyan National Army and the Government of National Accord escalated in 2019 and 2020, with heavy fighting in civilian areas in greater Tripoli.
During the first half of 2020, there were nearly 500 civilian casualties, including 79 children. As of August 2020, over 392,000 displaced persons and nearly 494,000 returnees required humanitarian assistance, including safe drinking water, sanitation facilities and access to health care, education and protection services. In areas affected by armed conflict, families are vulnerable to explosive hazards. Overall, some 681,000 people need health and nutrition assistance; 315,000 need safe water, sanitation and hygiene; 283,000 children need protection; and 165,000 children need access to schooling.
Continued political instability has weakened state institutions and damaged the economy. Children and families are experiencing a rapid deterioration of public services, higher food and fuel prices, loss of livelihoods, and serious protection challenges. The conflict has left housing and infrastructure across the country – including schools and health facilities – severely damaged. In March 2020, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, immunization services ceased and the only tertiary care facility in Tripoli closed. Critical gaps in medical supplies and staffing have also been reported. Children are disproportionately affected by armed conflict and are at high risk of violence, exploitation, trafficking, gender-based violence, recruitment into the fighting and unlawful detention.
Libya remains both a destination and major transit centre for migrants and refugees. As of August 2020, there were nearly 585,000 migrants and refugees in Libya, including nearly 47,000 children (nearly 12,000 of whom are unaccompanied). Migrants and refugees are exceptionally vulnerable given their migration status, significant protection risks and lack of access to social services.
COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality rates have been steadily rising across Libya, with over 35,000 confirmed cases and nearly 600 deaths. There is an acute shortage of tests, laboratory capacities are limited, and water and electricity shortages have undermined basic hygiene practices. Schools have been closed since mid-March 2020.
In 2021, UNICEF's humanitarian strategy in Libya will focus on making sure that no child is left behind, regardless of nationality, migration status or geographic location.
As part of efforts to link humanitarian action and development programmes, UNICEF will strengthen the capacities of national actors to support basic service delivery, including in emergency situations, in line with the Grand Bargain commitments. Where there are essential gaps in basic service delivery, UNICEF will provide assistance. UNICEF will focus on supporting and improving protection and education services for children, in addition to other essential support.
UNICEF leads the WASH and education sectors and the child protection sub-sector and supports the nutrition working group. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF is spearheading the risk communication and community engagement and infection prevention and control inter-agency coordination mechanisms. Humanitarian assistance will be delivered in partnership with line ministries, municipalities, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.
UNICEF will facilitate access to safe water and sanitation; provide health and nutrition supplies, equipment and training to health care staff; support the operation of community centres; and provide child protection and educational services. The health system will be strengthened to better prepare for future disease outbreaks.
Integrated, inter-sector programming will be central to the humanitarian response. Education, child protection and health responses will use integrated approaches and target key geographic locations such as detention centres and areas of displacement. All programmes will prioritize gender and the unique needs of adolescents and youth.
The COVID-19 strategy will focus on: (1) strengthening risk communication and community engagement; (2) improving infection prevention and control and providing critical medical and WASH supplies; (3) contributing to evidence-based decision-making; and (4) supporting access to continuous education, social protection, child protection and gender-based violence services.
In its service delivery, UNICEF will focus on the most vulnerable groups, including children on the move. UNICEF will further strengthen its field office in Benghazi and increase its footprint in the south to improve the provision of humanitarian assistance across the country.
UNICEF will continue to work with sister United Nations agencies to deliver immediate life-saving supplies to families through the Rapid Response Mechanism, particularly in hard-to-reach areas. Essential emergency goods will be pre-positioned to ensure a rapid response to emergency humanitarian situations. UNICEF will also build on its partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to support and protect refugee children.
Humanitarian Action is at the core of UNICEF’s mandate to realize the rights of every child. This edition of Humanitarian Action for Children – UNICEF’s annual humanitarian fundraising appeal – describes the ongoing crises affecting children in Libya; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.