In response to the impending threat from Covid-19, a truce was put in place and accepted by both sides of the Libyan conflict on 22 March, under the auspices of several countries and the UN. However, both the GNA (Government of National Accord) and LNA (Libyan National Army) have subsequently accused each other of violating this agreement.
With the Libyan crisis reaching its ninth year in 2020, the country has already been suffering from a weak economy and a nearly non-existent healthcare system. With its steadily deteriorating condition, it is unlikely for Libya to overcome the deadly crisis of COVID-19 which has confronted the world today. Despite the GNA announcing a series of lockdowns and other restrictive measures after the first case of COVID-19 was detected in the country on 25 March, the cases have been on the rise.
Coronavirus cases in Libya has jumped up to 26 according to statistics reports as of 14 April 2020. In such a situation of continued turmoil and uncertainty, a holistic plan of action from the government involving the people is of absolute necessity. A two-step process should be put in place to ensure relief access for the people at risk. The GNA has the mammoth task of preparing for the crisis and also for its aftermath. The only way it can successfully do so is by not just acting unanimously but by cooperating and supporting local initiatives.
After the toppling of the Muammar Gaddafi regime in 2011, Libya has been in a situation of constant conflict. The escalation of hostilities has increased political instability alongside social, economic and medical vulnerabilities. The turmoil that initially began in Benghazi and Tripoli, has now spread into the various cleavages of the country, leading the entire population in a constant state of flux.
With two rival governments constantly fighting to take control of the country, there has been a stagnation of economic or health advancements, which is now needed more than ever, amidst this global pandemic. Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army is in eastern Libya, and supported by Egypt and the UAE, while the GNA in Tripoli enjoys UN and international recognition. Libya’s legitimate government has been under attack by Haftar’s forces since April 2019, which has led to more than 1,000 people being killed in the violence. Amidst this violence and conflict, the COVID-19 crisis only makes circumstances worse.Print