OCHA surge support to the Libya crisis

In January 2016, Mr. Abdul Haq Amiri, OCHA Roaming Emergency Surge Officer, was deployed to Tunis, where the UN has been providing remote support to respond to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Libya created by ongoing political instability, conflict, and growing presence of ISIL and other extremist armed groups. The crisis had severely undermined the provision of basic services, with 2.4 million people across Libya in need of humanitarian assistance. The health care system was on the verge of collapse. Clean water and reliable sanitation services were inaccessible for many, particularly displaced people. Food insecurity was increasing as purchasing power declined and prices rose.  Many internally displaced people (IDPs) trying to return home were killed or injured by Explosive Remnants of War (ERW). Over 400,000 IDPs and some 250,000 refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants including women and children were in need of humanitarian assistance.

In February, the 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Libya, had received only US$4.4 million of the total $166 million in estimated requirements.  Logistics constraints, insecurity, a lack of reliable information, and scarce funding hampered the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance. A priority for Abdul Haq was therefore, to support the Humanitarian Country Team and lead the inter-sector coordination group in further prioritizing urgent funding needs to submit to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) secretariat.  Focusing on life saving interventions, a $12 million allocation from the CERF underfunded window was secured while additional resource mobilization was undertaken.

Working with limited operational and staffing resources, Abdul Haq focused on strategically elevating discussions in the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) and inter-sector coordination group. He established contacts with key actors inside Libya, negotiated with government officials, and started issuing a monthly Humanitarian Bulletin, a weekly update, funding briefs and periodic dashboard. Through regular donor engagement and focused advocacy, HRP funding reached $50 million (30 per cent) by the end of August, with another $34.2 million contributed through bilateral channels.

As fighting against ISIL intensified in Sirt, Abdul Haq led coordination efforts to deliver urgent life-saving assistance including food, household items, and medical supplies to those fleeing the conflict.  An inter-agency assessment team was deployed to Misrata to assess the scale of needs, which led to the delivery of life-saving medical supplies to hospitals and clinic in and around Sirt. Abdul Haq also led the preparation of a Flash Appeal for Sirt which will be issued in early September 2016.

Abdul Haq is now focusing on the 2017 planning process, leading preparations of the Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) and consultations for HRP.  The process was kick started in May with a workshop in Tunis, which brought together some 100 government officials, local and international NGOs, and UN staff  to discuss priorities, modalities for strengthened partnerships with local actors, and a plan to support better data collection. A second workshop is planned for early October to agree on response priorities for 2017 based on assessed needs.

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