Introduction

Libya’s dramatic political transition in 2011 was followed by political instability and armed conflict. In 2015, the UN brokered the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) which formed a new "unity" authority - the Presidency Council headed by Prime Minister-designate Fayez Sarraj. However, a year after the agreement, the House of Representatives based in Tubruk, rejected the Government of National Accord (GNA) proposed by PM-designate Serraj. After five years of conflict and an increasingly political environment, the Libyan people are experiencing a steady deterioration in the humanitarian situation.

 

The Humanitarian Challenge

 David Ohana/OCHA AVMU

Indiscriminate attacks by all sides in densely populated areas have been frequently reported.  Women have been particularly affected by the escalation of the conflict, and specifically, those visibly engaging in public affairs have been targeted. Hundreds of thousands of people across the country are living in unsafe conditions and high risk hostile environments, with little or no access to life-saving health care assistance, essential medicines, food, safe drinking water, shelter and education. It is estimated that 1.3 million people, including Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), returnees, most vulnerable non-displaced Libyans, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. These include, among others, about 241,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), 356,000 returnees and about 437,000 non-displaced with special needs.

 

Vulnerabilities of Migrant Communities

Libya is an important transit and destination country for migrants. Refugees and migrants transiting or staying in Libya face dire living conditions and are victims of physical and mental abuses, discrimination, forced and unpaid labour, financial exploitation, gender based violence, arbitrary arrest and detention, and marginalization. Many become easy targets for smugglers and human trafficking networks that promise high-risk journeys across the Mediterranean Sea. Thousands of migrants and refugees continue to lose their lives in an attempt to reach Europe.  

The Economic Challenge

 David Ohana/OCHA AVMU

Libya’s economic situation is precarious. Oil and gas typically represents 70% of Libya’s GDP. The decline in oil exports from US$ 60.9 billion in 2012 to US$ 8.4 billion in 2015, has severely impacted government revenue, devastating public services, in particular the health and education systems. Increasingly erratic power supply, high inflation and food shortages are common. 

In 2016, suspension of some subsidies, mainly on food contributed to a sharp increase in prices, particularly in remote regions and the capital city Tripoli.