Today, the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis strikes the world at large, threatening not only global health, but economic and social dimensions of countries’ development in unprecedented ways. For conflict affected countries like Libya, the challenges can be devastating without the necessary support.
To date, in Libya there are 1,117 people affected by the coronavirus (source: WHO), joining the rest of the world in its battle against the pandemic. Libya has been ravaged by war for the last six years, which has decimated its infrastructure and limited access to basic essential services such as healthcare, sanitation, education and livelihoods.
The United Nation Development Programme’s (UNDP) “Strengthening Local Capacities for Resilience and Recovery” Project, which is supported by the European Union (EU), has been working in 24 municipalities across Libya over the past three years to strengthen the capacity of municipal institutions in providing as well as improving access to quality basic and social services to the most vulnerable groups around the country.
Amidst the outbreak, widespread lockdown and curfew restrictions, the supported municipalities are responding to COVID-19 threats using the infrastructures renovated and essential equipment delivered in the health and water and sanitation sectors by the project.
'Desperate' health situation
Most hospitals and medical facilities in war-torn Libya have not been functioning on their full potential since the beginning of the conflict. Today, the medical facilities rehabilitated by UNDP with the support of the EU, serve as main healthcare service points in the cities and their neighboring villages, providing medical care to 800,000 people. The EU-UNDP partnership has made possible the rehabilitation of health centers in Benghazi, Kufra, Sabratha, Sebha, Murzuq, Ghat and Thala.