Access improves but challenges persist
Humanitarian partners reported 673 access constraints in July and August, a 31 per cent decrease in reported constraints compared to June. Nearly half of reported constraints are restrictions on movements into Libya. INGOs continue to face increased delays and difficulties in obtaining Libyan visas for international staff, which has affected operations and likely accounts for the significant reduction in reported constraints. Over 95 per cent of international INGO staff do not have valid Libyan visas and several have been unable to obtain visas for more than eight months. Visas for some UN international staff have also been delayed. Additionally, many visas are provided with only a validity of three months, increasing requirements for visa renewals.
Restrictions of humanitarian movements and activities within Libya represents 32 per cent of reported constraints. COVID-19 precautionary measures continue to pose a significant challenge, with humanitarian partners requiring exemptions for humanitarian movements, the process for which remain vague and inconsistent. Movement restrictions are more stringently enforced in the East and West than in the South. Access constraints impacting the East make up 43 per cent of all reported constraints, followed by the West (39 per cent) and lastly the South (18 per cent). This is the first time since March 2020 that the West did not register as the region affected by the highest number of access constraints.
Reductions in the number of reported access constraints in the West can also be attributed to the withdrawal of the Libyan National Army (LNA) from southern Tripoli and Tarhuna. The conflict has shifted to around Sirte, which poses serious access constraints. The authorities in the East have imposed additional requirements for security clearance that require additional time and can cause delays for implementation. Moreover, health partners continue to report delays of up to one year in securing clearances for importation of health-related items into the country through Eastern ports. The movement restrictions make it difficult to move humanitarian supplies concentrated in Tripoli to the East, which is required for any contingencies should the military situation around Sirte escalate, and the South.
Low operational presence across the South and some areas in the East and West impacts how affected populations are assisted. As of 31 July, humanitarian partners were, on average, only able to respond in 16 of the 22 mantikas targeted in the 2020 HRP. In the West, where most detention centers for migrants and refugees are located, partners reported difficulties in accessing official detention centres to provide protection services and other assistance. Despite the numerous COVID-19 related air traffic restrictions, IOM managed to organize its first repatriation flight from Libya in five months on 21 August with the voluntary return of 118 Ghanaian migrants.
In August, OCHA processed notifications for the de-confliction of two humanitarian movements through the Humanitarian Notification System for De-confliction (HNS4D) with national authorities in the West and East. Both notifications were acknowledged by the authorities and proceeded without incident.
Between January and July 2020, humanitarian organizations reached more than 260,000 people. This included nearly 103,000 people who received unconditional food assistance through in-kind or cash-based transfers and 104,000 people who received non-food items. Health partners increased access to health services, providing more than 100,000 medical procedures, around 30,000 people benefited from essential hygiene items and 9,000 people received water and sanitation services. More than 46,000 people received specialized protection services, including gender-based violence and child protection services and psychosocial support. Mine Action partners have cleared more than 18,000 m2 of land of explosive hazards and provided risk education to approximately 27,000 people.