(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
Photo retrieved from www.rand.org
A report released by the United Nations on Monday said that an alarming 279,000 children were prevented by the ongoing conflict in Libya from going to school.
The UN’s office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the data obtained from “Libya’s Ministry of Education paints an alarming picture of education access.”
The OCHA reported “A total of 558 schools across various regions of Libya (were) classed as nonfunctional, affecting approximately 279,000 school-age children.”
Schools were unable to operate “due to partial or complete damage as a result of conflict and fighting,” explained the OCHA report.
Some schools in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city, “have become shelters for the displaced, preventing children from accessing them.”
Ongoing battles have shaken up the eastern region, including Benghazi, for over two years and counting. General Khalifa Haftar has been trying to establish his dominance over the city and other parts of eastern Libya with his military force claiming to be fighting ISIS.
The Defend Benghazi Brigade who’s made up of local freedom fighters reports that Haftar’s forces have threatened Benghazi’s stability and security.
Most schools in Benghazi were closed down in the summer of 2014. In December 2015 around a third of the schools reopened.
In western Libya, the ongoing battles in Sirte, between forces loyal to the UN-backed Government (GNA) and ISIS, have claimed the lives of over three quarters of its population since ISIS claimed control over Sirte in 2015.
Since April 35,000 Sirte residents fled the city after GNA forces began their fight with ISIS in Sirte.
With more and more Sirte residents fleeing the fighting, “host communities are struggling to provide assistance” adding more stress to the already fragile infrastructure, reports the OCHA.
“Water and sanitation conditions… are deteriorating rapidly and hospitals face shortages of beds and medical supplies to aid growing numbers of patients.”
The GNA has been working against many obstacles aiming to achieve stability in the country since it arrived to Tripoli in March.