The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that more than 348,000 children out of 1.2 million people, need humanitarian assistance in Libya, due to the impact of the prolonged armed conflict, political and economic crises and the COVID-19 pandemic.
It also said that US$49.1 million is needed by the agency itself together with its partners for emergency interventions in the country in 2021.
In a statement issued on Friday on the review of its humanitarian work plan and needs in 2021, on the occasion of International Children’s Day, UNICEF announced that “it will work with government officials, civil society organisations and the private sector to implement its humanitarian, development and peacebuilding strategy in Libya.
The main needs associated with the coronavirus outbreak include priority interventions for 2021, health, water, sanitation, hygiene, education and child protection.
“Humanitarian needs continue to increase in Libya due to the political crisis, armed conflict and now the COVID-19 pandemic,” UNICEF said, noting that “the first half of 2020 has seen the death of nearly 500 civilians, including 79 children”.
In August 2020, the UN agency counted the needs of more than 392,000 internally displaced persons and about 494,000 returnees for humanitarian assistance, including clean water, sanitation, access to health services, education and protection, ensuring that a total of 283,000 children are in need of protection and 165,000 have access to education.
UNICEF also warned of “the suffering of Libyan children and families due to the rapid deterioration of public services, high food and fuel prices, loss of livelihoods and serious protection problems.”
The agency, however, noted that vaccination services have ceased due to the coronavirus epidemic. In addition, “children are affected by armed conflict and are extremely vulnerable to violence, exploitation, trafficking, gender-based violence, recruitment by armed groups and illegal detention.”
Regarding the status of illegal immigrants, UNICEF has recorded the presence of nearly 585,000 migrants and refugees in Libya, including about 47,000 children (about 12,000 of them unaccompanied) since August 2020.
Every year on 20 November, UNICEF celebrates Universal Children’s Day, which coincides with the date of the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.
The International Day aims to promote international cohesion and awareness among the world’s children and to improve their well-being.