By Sami Zaptia.
London, 6 August 2020:
The EU reported on Tuesday that as part of its global response to the coronavirus pandemic it has mobilised €20 million (LD 33 million) to assist the Libyan government in tackling the ongoing crisis.
The announcement comes as Libya struggles to control the spread of Coronavirus.
It said that in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), it will support the prevention of the spread of the coronavirus, in particular among Libya’s most vulnerable communities affected by conflict, forced displacement and migration.
The EU explained that the assistance aims at establishing better national coordination mechanisms for the detection and surveillance of infection clusters and improving public awareness of the virus and effective preventive measures.
The EU funding will also continue to support Libya’s public health system and allow for urgent investments in medical equipment and personal protective equipment for health workers who are at the frontlines in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Libya has seen an alarming spike in infections over the past two weeks. The authorities have taken a series of measures to inform people about protective measures and contain a further spread of the coronavirus. However, Libya’s health system was already under strain due to the years-long conflict. The COVID 19 pandemic has aggravated the dire situation in Libya’s hospitals and health centres. Together with our international partners, the European Union is therefore stepping up its support to boost national response capacities and help keep people safe,” said EU Ambassador to Libya Alan Bugeja.
The EU said that the €20 million will be released immediately and is expected to directly benefit almost 1,000,000 people in Libya. It added that these new funds come in addition to the EU’s ongoing support to Libyan authorities and health institutions in their response to the COVID-pandemic.
The EU explained that this new EU COVID-19 support to Libya is part of a set of assistance programmes under the so-called “EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa” (EUTF Africa). EUTF Africa was set up in late 2015 to address the root causes of forced displacement and migration and had run several programmes in support of the public health system in Libya already before the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to the coronavirus crisis, the EUTF adapted several ongoing programmes to assist the local authorities in taking urgent measures to contain the spread of the virus. This included awareness campaigns, the provision of essential personal protective equipment and training provided to medical staff.