UN launches $330 million appeal for Libya


File: The helmet of a Nigerian soldier serving with the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur.

TRIPOLI - The United Nations launched an international appeal Thursday for $330 million(R3.9 billion) dollars to fund humanitarian aid projects for almost one million people in Libya, a country plunged in chaos and a hub of illegal migration.

Maria Ribeiro, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Libya, outlined the priorities for a Humanitarian Response Plan for 2018 at a news conference in Tripoli.

The target is "to reach at least 940,000 people" through 71 projects at a cost of $330 million to be carried out in partnership with municipalities, civil society and ministries, she said.

In 2017, the international community contributed $98 million, 68 percent of the funding requested, she said, adding that the European Union, the United States and Japan were the top donors.

Ribeiro said that last year&39;s aid reached "540,000 people across Libya... whether Libyans, migrants or asylum seekers", adding that the number in need of humanitarian aid has climbed to 1.1 million people, a third of them children.

Libya has been wracked by chaos since its 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, with rival authorities and militias battling for control of its oil riches.

The North African country has long been a transit hub for migrants seeking a better life in Europe, but people smugglers have stepped up their lucrative business since the revolution.