More displaced people are returning home
An increasing number of previously displaced families returned to their places of origin as the security situation continued to be stable. This is mostly due to the political process of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum continuing towards implementation. According to Round 35 of IOM-DTM’s Libya IDP and Returnee Report, over 18,000 people returned home since December 2020. The number of returnees increased to over 623,219 returnees by the end of February 2021, while the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) correspondingly decreased to 245,483 people.
However, challenges for returnees still persist ranging from lack of adequate access to livelihoods and basic services to insecurity. Initial findings indicate that families were unable to find employment or livelihoods locally, hindering their successful return and reintegration.
Most of the small and large businesses in the areas assessed were open, indicating a certain degree of normalization of the situation post-conflict . Stable operation of private businesses and public companies is indicative of normalization and hints to a conducive environment for returns. Conversely, in areas where businesses cannot operate due to the security situation or market dynamics (e.g. inadequate infrastructure resulting in increased cost of operating or small consumer base), livelihoods and employment opportunities suffer, which is impeding the return of displaced families.
Difficulties in finding employment due to lack of livelihood opportunities and lack of access to education, health and other public services (such as electricity and water) indicate that significant improvements are needed in the areas of return, especially in Ain Zara, Qasr Bin Ghahseer and Tawergha.
As identified in previous interviews with returnee households , damaged property and housing has been one of the most significant barriers to return and reintegration post displacement. In 17 of the 46 assessed communities (muhallas) by IOM-DTM, key informants reported that the armed conflict had resulted in damage to houses and property.
Furthermore, in half of the communities assessed, residents were reportedly concerned about insecurity and violence, indicating that perceptions of safety are a significant factor in the return of IDPs to their places of origin and impacting their daily activities and movement. Community reconciliation and cohesion were identified as a need in five of the assessed muhallas, namely Abusliem, Derna, Qasr Bin Ghasheer, Suq Aljumaa, and Tawergha
According to the REACH Joint Market Monitoring Report, the average food prices across Libya decreased slightly in April compared to previous months. However, overall average food prices are still 11.8 per cent higher compared to pre-COVID-19 levels in March 2020 and many cities have still not recovered from the price spikes one year ago. For example, the average cost in Benghazi, Al Khums and Al Aziziya are over 36 per cent more expensive in April 2021 compared to March 2020.
 For most locations assessed as part of the Return Index pilot in IOM-DTM’s Libya IDP and Returnee Report (Round 35), the post-conflict situation refers to the 2019-2020 western Libya armed conflict.