Migrants continue to struggle with job and food insecurity
The number of migrants in Libya remained stable compared to previous months at 597,611 from over 40 nationalities, while the total number of migrants in Libya currently remains lower compared to pre-pandemic levels. It is estimated that of the 88 per cent that migrate to Libya for economic reasons, 20 per cent remain unemployed and unable to meet their basic needs. Furthermore, unemployment is most severe among migrants who have arrived in Libya more recently. With migrants engaging mainly in informal work, restrictions due to COVID-19 posed limitations to finding regular work opportunities, further creating job insecurity and the implementation of negative coping mechanisms.
Past IOM/DTM studies have confirmed that migrants who have arrived more recently in Libya are generally less established and may be unable to rely on a local network for assistance. Having newly arrived has therefore been identified as a significant risk factor adding to migrants’ vulnerability at the individual level. A joint WFP-IOM food security report, states that migrants living in Libya for less than six months were identified as being more vulnerable to food insecurity. Food consumption levels, which are measured by the frequency and diversity of foods consumed over the past seven days, were generally lower among migrants who had arrived more recently in Libya than those who had been in the country for longer than six months.
The number of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea, while only a minority of the total migrant population in Libya, continued to increase significantly during the reporting period. As of 11 September, among those who attempted to cross the Mediterranean, over 23,600 people were returned to Libya while 449 people died and 654 went missing. Overall, the number of returns to Libya recorded on maritime routes to Europe more than doubled in the first half of 2021 compared to all of 2020.