Humanitarian crisis unfolds in Libya as security dilemma persists 

Menan Khater
4 Min Read


Deputy special representative of the United Nations Secretary General in Libya, Ali Al-Zaatary, arrived in Cairo for a short visit in a bid to advocate for the worsening humanitarian situation in Libya.

Al-Zaatary works as part of the UN support mission in Libya. He will meet with several Egyptian officials, diplomats, and Arab league personnel as part of his advocacy efforts on the situation in Libya. He will urge them to provide much needed support including financial aid or in-kind materials from different countries.

He announced during a press briefing in Cairo on Monday that $166m are still needed throughout 2016 to overcome the current humanitarian challenges in terms of providing food and medical treatment among other subsidies for about two million Libyan citizens in need.

The fund is expected to be provided by governments through the UN Central Emergency Rescue Fund.

“If the international community does not respond immediately to improve the current humane situation in Libya, there will be problematic consequences not only on the Libyan arena, but in other countries as well,” he said.

According to Al-Zaatary, the medical supplies stock is expected to run out soon; approximately 200,000 people do not have access to nutrition and thousands of others are displaced in Libya as a result of the security unrest and presence of “Islamic State” (IS) militants in some cities.

“Libya was attractive to job-seekers of all nationalities owing to its wealthy oil resources,” he told Daily News Egypt, referring to the 250,000 refugees in Libya and asylum seekers who went to Europe via Libya’s sea borders. “The UN deals with those refugees according to its policies and through its specialised agencies. However it is not concerned about others who go to Libya searching for jobs and not asking for protection.”

Earlier in February, 35 Egyptian migrant labourers and their family members were released from immigration detention centres in Libya after they were detained by authorities of the Tobruk government.

Al-Zaatary confirmed the need for a political resolution. “Whether humanitarian assistance is provided by the Libyan government or other countries, the situation is likely to become more complicated; we are seeking to put it at the top of the global agenda,” he told Daily News Egypt.

On Saturday, the US announced the launch of airstrikes targeting an IS training camp in Libya, allegedly involved in two terror attacks in Tunisia last year.

Since Muammar Gaddafi’s ousting in 2011, Libya has witnessed division on the political level with two rival governments currently operating in Libya. Security and humanitarian concerns have intensified as IS affiliates are gaining ground in multiple parts of the country. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon announced three weeks ago the allocation of $100m for the Central Emergency Rescue Fund, which supports the situation in Libya as well as other countries.


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Politics and investigative reporter for Daily News Egypt. Initiator and lead instructor of DNE's special reporting project for university students 'What Lies Beyond.' Facebook:
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