Libya

Situation Report

Highlights

  • Over 14,700 migrants intercepted/rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard by the end of June, surpassing the number of migrants intercepted/rescued and disembarked in all of 2020.
  • Following a peak in March 2021, COVID-19 cases have been steadily increasing with no signs of slowing.
  • Second dose vaccination against COVID-19 is yet to begin in Libya.
  • Inter-agency UN mission to eastern Libya meets municipal councils and visits areas of possible strategic humanitarian interventions.
  • Humanitarian partners report 168 access constraints in June, the lowest number since the AMRF launched in March 2020.
Inter-agency UN mission team at Emsaad border crossing (UNICEF/Salem Al-Obaidi)
Inter-agency UN mission team at Emsaad border crossing (UNICEF/Salem Al-Obaidi)

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Libya

Situation Report

Key Figures

1.3M
People in need
0.5M
People targeted
224k
People displaced in Libya
591k
Migrants and refugees in Libya
351k
People reached

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Libya

Situation Report

Funding

$189.1M
Required
$84.4M
Received
45%
Progress
FTS

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Contacts

Justin Brady

Head of Office

Jennifer Bose Ratka

Public Information Officer

Libya

Situation Report
Background

Increasing trend of attempted sea crossings and returns to Libya

An increasing number of migrants and refugees continued to be intercepted/rescued at sea and returned to Libya. As of 30 June, more than 14,700 migrants were intercepted/rescued at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) and returned to Libya, surpassing the number of migrants intercepted or rescued and disembarked in all of 2020. In comparison, over the same period last year, the LCG intercepted/rescued a total of 5,350 refugees and migrants at sea, demonstrating an increase of 77 per cent this year. In June alone, over 4,523 individuals have been disembarked; hundreds of others have perished at sea.[1]

Migrants and refugees disembarked in Libya often end up in appalling conditions where they may be exposed to abuse and extortion. Others go missing and are unaccounted for, raising fears that some may have been channeled into human trafficking networks. The continuing departures from Libya highlight the need for a predictable rescue and disembarkation mechanism along the Central Mediterranean route, with immediate effect and in full compliance with international human rights principles and standards.

IOM/DTM Libya identified a total of 591,415 migrants from over 43 nationalities in the 100 Libyan municipalities in March and April 2021 during Round 36 of data collection.[2] During the reporting period, the number of migrants in Libya continued to increase slightly compared to previous rounds of data collection while remaining lower than pre-pandemic levels. This rise is likely the result of a combination of factors, including the gradual ease of mobility restrictions since the beginning of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Libya in mid-April 2021, as well as the improvement in the security situation since the ceasefire agreement and the formation of the government of national unity in March 2021. However, the slow pace of recovery from years of conflict and political instability, and more recently, the impact of the pandemic on the local economy, continue to affect migrants in Libya as well. In addition, given the extreme temperatures during the heat wave in Libya, resulting in power outages across the country, the situation in detention centers, confining over 6,170 migrants and refugees, is extremely inhumane.

[1] https://data2.unhcr.org/en/documents/details/87729

[2] https://dtm.iom.int/reports/libya-%E2%80%94-migrant-report-36-march-april-2021

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Libya

Situation Report
Visual

Monthly trends - people rescued/intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard in 2020-2021 (UNHCR)

Monthly trends - people rescued/intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard in 2020-2021 (UNHCR)

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Libya

Situation Report
Analysis
A 47-year-old man receiving COVID-19 vaccine, Gharyan (UNICEF/Zakaria Thlaij)
A 47-year-old man receiving COVID-19 vaccine, Gharyan (UNICEF/Zakaria Thlaij)

COVID-19 cases are on the rise

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases have been steadily rising in Libya after peaking in March 2021, when over 6,500 confirmed cases were reported as the weekly average. Although a decrease was noted from April to May, by the end of epidemiological week 26 (4 July), a notable and worrying increase was reported with 3,038 confirmed cases. In comparison to week 25 (27 June), the number of new cases shows a 73.8 per cent increase, with the West region reporting a 74 per cent increase in new patients, while the national positivity rate continued to increase from 8.3 per cent to 14 per cent.

To date, a total of 830,190 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are available in Libya, of which 230,190 doses of the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines were received through the COVAX facility. A total of 385,916 people were vaccinated by 4 July, while over 900,000 people are registered, of which 4,327 are non-Libyans. Although the vaccination campaign began officially on 17 April in 430 health facilities across Libya, the process has been slow. On 21 June, a directive from the National Center for Disease Control advised with the continuation of the vaccination campaign with only the first dose, in order to create community herd immunity. With implementation of the second dose yet to begin, no one has been fully vaccinated by the health authorities. Advocacy campaigns are being enhanced to encourage more people to register for vaccination against COVID-19, with the World Health Organization emphasizing the need to accelerate the vaccination campaign as a top priority, with a target of reaching 40 per cent of the population by the end of 2021. With rising COVID-19 cases, it is imperative that more people register for the vaccine.

Interviews conducted with migrants, internally displaced people (IDPs) and host communities in Libya by IOM DTM, found that the majority of the interviewees (86%) are in favor of being vaccinated. However, health services deemed too expensive, concerns over contracting the virus at health facilities, as well as the lack of documents and a lack of trust in the system are the main reasons keeping migrants and IDPs from regularly accessing health facilities.

A severe heatwave in mid-June, provoking electricity cuts and load shedding measures, impacted several health facilities in the delivery of services, with some functioning at limited or partial capacity. The health sector’s ongoing support for strengthening Cold Chain System Building delivered an additional 43 vaccines fridges to 40 vaccination sites in 25 municipalities. IOM, WHO, UNICEF, and other health sector partners continued to provide training to national health workers on increasing their capacities to address the demands faced by the COVID-19 pandemic. In June, WHO, for example, trained 36 community healthcare volunteers to support home care for COVID-19 patients with the aim of increasing competencies in essential services. To strengthen data collection and reporting capacities related to the pandemic, IOM in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health, conducted a three-day training on the national health information system (DHIS-2), aimed at expanding the usage to COVID-19 isolation centers and public health facilities in ten additional Mantikas. As part of the training sessions targeting health workers in isolation and triage centers in Aswani, UNICEF organized an Infection Prevention and Control training on hygiene protocol and COVID-19 preventive measures, while continuing to provide safe water, sanitation and hygiene services in IDP settlements, and distributing hand sanitizers to water institutions and health centers.

As of 4 July, the National Center for Disease Control reported that there are 195,824 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 3,218 deaths, and 13,213 active cases. Libya remains classified under community transmission with the circulation of Alpha and Beta Variants of Concern. However, the government has not reported an official confirmation of the Delta variant.

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Libya

Situation Report
Feature
Inter-agency UN mission meeting with the Mayor of Tobruk, eastern Libya (OCHA)
Inter-agency UN mission meeting with the Mayor of Tobruk, eastern Libya (OCHA)

Joint visit to the east of Libya

From 12 to 16 June, representatives from UNICEF, UNHCR, IOM and OCHA visited Tobruk, Emsaad, Derna, Albaida, Shahat and Al-Quba in eastern Libya to meet with municipality councils and visit areas of possible strategic humanitarian interventions. The objective of the mission was to take stock of the priority needs and challenges as well as monitor ongoing operations and program interventions of UN agencies.

Of the municipalities visited, the team noted that activities were significantly hampered due to the absence of an approved budget, while NGOs and CSOs need exceptional capacity-building support to engage more effectively with local authorities, communities and beneficiaries. A comprehensive needs assessment in eastern municipalities, focusing on the most vulnerable and remote areas within each municipality, needs to be organized to fully grasp the extent of the support required.

The health situation remains a critical issue in the municipalities visited, with medicines and routine vaccinations in short supply. Municipalities reported that they suffered from severe shortages of routine vaccines putting the country at high risk of preventable disease outbreaks. Demand for health training, rehabilitation of health facilities and maternal, newborn and child health services are still required. Water, Sanitation and Health services were also highlighted as a priority as water supply has been scarce due to damaged water plants and dried wells not meeting the needs of the population. The team also took note of the need for basic school supplies and school infrastructure being damaged for which additional rehabilitation support was requested.

The vast Libyan border regions with Egypt have posed challenges for border control operations. The municipalities showed interest in assuming a greater role in migration management, including for the majority of migrants coming from Egypt, Chad and Sudan. However, the existing internal capacity is rather limited and significant training and capacity building will be needed.

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Libya

Situation Report
Access
Combined access severity scores (OCHA)
Combined access severity scores (OCHA)

Humanitarian access continues positive trend

In June, a total of 168 access constraints were reported by humanitarian partners through the Access Monitoring and Reporting Framework (AMRF). This is the least number of access constraints reported for a single month since the launching of AMRF in March 2020, and a 9 per cent decrease compared with May 2021.

Bureaucratic restrictions on the movement of humanitarian personnel and relief supplies into and within Libya constituted the vast majority of the reported access impediments (67%). One of the most concerning issues for humanitarian partners remains the significant delays in the issuance of visas for INGO international staff and delays in issuing/renewing work permits for humanitarian organizations. Support is needed from the Libyan authorities to promulgate clear and consistent processes for visas and registration of humanitarian organizations.

The limited operational presence of humanitarian partners has been impacting the humanitarian operation as shown by the disparities in response levels across different geographic areas, such that 17 per cent of constraints were related to the lack of operational presence by humanitarian actors.

To gauge the severity of access constraints across the different municipalities in Libya, OCHA organized three focus group discussion sessions (one for each region; South, West and East) with the involvement of humanitarian staff from UN agencies, INGOs and NNGOs. Results revealed that out of 100 municipalities, Sirte is the only municipality over the high severity threshold. A total of 12 municipalities (Abusliem, Ain Zara, Al Aziziya, Al Maya, Al Kufra, Azzahra, Azzawya, Derna, Gharb Azzawya, Hrawa, Khaleej Assidra and Swani Bin Adam) have medium combined severity scores while the majority of municipalities (87 municipalities) had low combined severity scores.

In order to address the access-related issues, support from local and national authorities is crucial to remove the lingering bureaucratic constraints. Humanitarian actors must also expand their operational footprint and allow scale up of humanitarian programs by empowering national civil society organizations, especially in hard-to-reach areas in conformity with accountability frameworks and partnership principles.

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