A total of 574,146 migrants of over 43 nationalities were identified in Round 33 of DTM data collection (September and October 2020). Migrants’ presence was recorded in all 100 Libyan municipalities and in 579 (out of 667) communities (muhallas).
The number of migrants in Libya has been declining since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to decline, but at a slower rate compared to the last three rounds of data collection. Overall, an estimated 80,000 migrants left Libya since the start of the pandemic, mainly to neighbouring countries. The economic downturn, including plummeting income-generating opportunities for migrant workers, tightened security controls and mobility restrictions due to COVID-19 are amongst the factors which have likely contributed to a number of migrants leaving Libya.
In parallel, the number of migrants arriving in Italy and Malta after having crossed the Mediterranean Sea from the Libyan and Tunisian shores between April and October 2020 is nearly three times that of the corresponding time period in 2019, up from 8,977 to 24,713 individuals.
In some cases, mobility restrictions at land border crossing points started to ease during the reporting period compared to previous months and since the start of the pandemic. For example, the Emsaed Point of Entry (PoE) (between Egypt and Libya) was open for entry and exit. In addition, several land border crossing points were periodically opened to allow groups of migrants to leave the country.
While the number of tracked migrants has decreased by fourteen per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels, two thirds of migrants in Libya (384,013 individuals or 66%) remain from neighbouring countries: Niger (20%), Egypt (17%), Chad (15%) and Sudan (14%). This highlights that despite mobility restrictions migration patterns remain heavily influenced by geographical proximity and diasporic ties.
In line with a trend which has been consistent for the past year, the largest migrant populations were identified in the regions of Tripoli (15%), Ejdabia (12%), Misrata (10%), Azzawya (7%), Benghazi (7%) Murzuq (7%) and Sebha (6%).
Despite a lull in hostilities in recent months, the security situation in some cities in the western region remains tense due to military build-up, especially around Sirte.
In parallel, the increasingly difficult living conditions, characterised by fuel and water shortages and electricity outages continue to exhaust migrants’ coping capacity.
In a recent survey of migrants’ housing conditions, the majority of respondents in Tripoli (all six baladiyas), Misrata and Sebha reported intermittent supply, or a lack of electricity in the past 30 days at the time of survey and in most cases (99%) because of power cuts.
A rise in the well-documented and constant risk of abduction, arbitrary arrest and detention which migrants face in Libya has been recorded in recent weeks. In late September, for example, more than 300 migrants were reportedly kidnapped when armed men stormed their homes in the town of Al Ajaylat and held in an unofficial detention site. During the raid, at least two people lost their lives. IOM medical teams provided assistance to those injured.
- International Organization for Migration
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