Humanitarian partners working in Libya reported a total of 554 access constraints in the month of September 2020, a 16 per cent decrease compared to August. This is the third month showing a reduction in the number of access constraints reported through the Access
Monitoring and Reporting Framework. While there have been improvements in access, particularly in the resumption of regular UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) and commercial flights to and from Libya, the release of essential health items from customs and relaxations in COVID-19-related movement restrictions, part of the decline can be attributed to humanitarian organizations having reduced presence due to other persistent access constraints, particularly in relation to the issuance of visas for international staff. Regarding delays in release of imported medical supplies, which was a key constraint for Health Sector
partners that was resolved during September, there is still a need to implement a long-term solution to ensure it does not reoccur.
For the seventh month in a row, restrictions on movement of humanitarian agencies, personnel, and goods into Libya made up more than half of reported constraints (51 per cent). INGOs continued to face challenges in obtaining visas for their international staff with 91 per cent of INGO staff supposed to be either fully or partially based in Libya reportedly not being able to secure visas to enter the country. Only very few staff members were granted visas during the month, though advocacy with relevant ministries pointed to a potential breakthrough that would allow dozens of international staff who have been waiting up to eight months for visas to finally be allowed to enter the country.
Restrictions in movements within Libya represented 24 per cent of reported challenges, with humanitarian activities in the East the most impacted for a third consecutive month with 42 per cent of all reported constraints, compared to 38 per cent in the West and 20 per cent in the South. some organizations continuing to find difficulties in implementation because of COVID-19 precautionary measures that impact on movement. Other organizations have had to limit their movements and activities due to security measures. The concentration of humanitarian supplies in Tripoli compounds difficulties in transporting humanitarian items through different areas of control.
There was a concerning increase in the number of direct attacks against civilian/humanitarian personnel, assets and facilities during September, particularly health workers desperately needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. On 11 September, a doctor from Al-Khadra
General Hospital in Abusliem was kidnapped from outside his house in Tripoli. He was safely released nine days later. Another doctor resigned after being attacked and threatened with kidnapping at a hospital in Ejdabia, resulting in the hospital being without an ICU specialist and hospital staff also went on a strike in solidarity further disrupting the hospital’s operations. The General Hospital in Bani Walid temporarily closed after its medical personnel were attacked and its administrative building and emergency department vandalized and burned. While military operations have had a lower impact on humanitarian access relative to previous months, the presence of armed groups and explosive hazards in different areas in Libya continued to constitute a security risk for humanitarians and impacted movements.
A total of 291 (53 per cent) out of the 554 reported constraints affected humanitarian sector activities with the Health Sector registering as the highest with 40 per cent, followed by the Protection Sector at 15 per cent and the Shelter/NFI and Education sectors at 11 per cent each. For the first time in four months, Food Security Sector partners were not affected by any constraints. However, limited operational presence in some parts of the country impacted the humanitarian community’s ability to deliver humanitarian assistance in general, especially in remote areas.
Between January and August 2020, humanitarian organizations have reached more than 268,000 people with humanitarian assistance since the beginning of the year. This includes support to 75,000 internally displaced people, 128,000 vulnerable, conflict-affected Libyans and recent returnees and 66,000 migrants and refugees. This included nearly 119,000 people who received unconditional food assistance, 107,000 people with shelter assistance and 44,000 people who benefited from WASH items or services. Health partners continued to increase access to health services, providing more than 120,000 medical procedures and supported 308 public health facilities with health services and supplies. More than 83,000 people received specialized protection services or awareness raising activities, including gender-based violence and child protection services and psychosocial support. Mine Action partners have cleared more than 124,000 m2 of land of explosive hazards and provided risk education to approximately 28,000 people.