By Sami Zaptia.
London, 29 November 2020:
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that Libya’s ceasefire paves the way to ending the conflict and creating conditions for peace and stability.
In its 25 November Situation Report it said that these positive events are important developments to permanently ending the conflict and moving towards peace and stability in Libya.
However, in the near-term, and with the continuing impact of COVID-19, humanitarian needs will remain as agreements materialize on the ground and the economy rebounds.
The lifting of force majeure and blockade by LNA forces on oil production is expected to alleviate the economic situation in the country and have a positive impact for some of the country’s most vulnerable people.
It estimated that for the beginning of 2021, 1.3 million people will be in need of some form of humanitarian assistance, an increase of 40 per cent, compared to 2020.
Since the suspension of hostilities in southern Tripoli in June 2020, some 36,000 people have returned home. However, across the country, more than 392,000 people remain displaced. The rate of these returns has been constrained by a lack of basic services, which were damaged during the conflict and the presence of booby traps, including IEDs, landmines and explosive remnants of war that continue to present grave protection risks until they can be safely cleared.
As the broader conflict has cooled, inter-group violence between GNA-aligned armed groups in the West has increased. This has included, in some instances, the use of heavy weapons in urban areas. There have been clashes reported in Tajura in late September, between rival groups in Tripoli in early October and most recently in Tarhuna.
The socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 continue to erode people’s living standards and access to public services. Fuel shortages and continuous power cuts have also severely affected people’s living conditions, as well as impacting the functioning of health facilities.
In 2020, more than 10,000 migrants and refugees intercepted at sea and returned to Libya, already exceeding all of 2019.
It said COVID-19 cases continue to increase, with 76 per cent increase in confirmed cases in October.
It warned that shortages in vaccines across the country put the lives of more than 250,000 children at risk.