Insecurity in Libya continues to generate displacement, humanitarian needs
UN records 23 civilian deaths in October as a result of conflict in Libya
Access to cash and health care, as well as safety and security, remain key needs among conflict-affected populations
Donors contribute $85.7 million toward the 2017 Libya HRP as of December
Ongoing conflict, civil unrest, and political instability have adversely affected civilians and displaced populations in Libya since 2011. As of October 2017, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) had identified approximately 199,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and more than 304,300 cumulative returnees across 100 municipalities.
Insecurity throughout Libya has resulted in additional civilian casualties and increased humanitarian needs in recent months. The UN reported 23 civilian deaths as a result of hostilities in October. Military activity in northeastern Libya’s city of Darnah since late July has severely restricted the movement of local populations and relief actors. In northwestern Libya’s Sabratha District, armed clashes prompted rapid displacement in early October and increased humanitarian needs, particularly access to cash to purchase food, as well as access to health care services. While the majority of IDPs returned to the district in late October, humanitarian needs persist in the area.
IOM and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently identified access to health care services and safe drinking water as urgent humanitarian needs among conflict-affected and displaced populations in northern Libya. Access to essential and emergency health care remains a challenge throughout the country, according to the UN.
In FY 2017, the U.S. Government (USG) provided more than $18 million, including nearly $2.5 million from USAID/OFDA and $15.8 million from State/PRM, to support humanitarian response activities in Libya. The USG contribution supports nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), international organizations, and UN agencies to provide food, health, protection, shelter, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) assistance for conflict-affected people in Libya, in addition to supporting humanitarian coordination.
INSECURITY, DISPLACEMENT, AND HUMANITARIAN ACCESS
Ongoing insecurity, movement restrictions, and presence of explosive remnants of war (ERW) in areas of origin continues to generate humanitarian protection concerns. Hostilities throughout Libya resulted in at least 23 civilian deaths and 15 civilian injuries during October, according to the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). Airstrikes caused the majority of civilian deaths and injuries during the time period, while ERW and gunfire accounted for the remaining casualties, according to UNSMIL.
Since late July, increased military activity in Darnah—including two unidentified airstrikes in late October that resulted in 12 civilian deaths—has led to deteriorating humanitarian conditions and restricted local population movement and relief operations, the UN reports. Nearly all entry and exit points in Darnah remained closed as of November 9, according to a REACH assessment conducted from November 7–9. The Libyan National Army-imposed border closures in Darnah have created food and fuel shortages in the city, adversely affecting food security for vulnerable populations and hindering access to health care facilities and markets due to the lack of petrol, according to the assessment. The border closures have affected an estimated 100,000 people since early August, according to the UN.
Clashes between armed groups in the northwestern city of Sabratha between September 17 and October 6 prompted more than 11,000 people to flee the city, the UN reports. As of October 23, the vast majority of IDPs have returned to Sabratha; however, 400 houses required repairs and 120 homes were uninhabitable due to damages sustained during the fighting, and the UN reports that insecurity in the city hinders returns. At least 12 relief organizations provided multisector humanitarian assistance—including food, medical supplies, such as body bags and trauma kits, and other relief items—to displaced households and health facilities in Sabratha and surrounding areas between September 17 and October 23 in response to recent insecurity.
Armed clashes in northwestern Libya’s Al Aziziyah District prompted the displacement of approximately 3,000 households between October 31 and November 7, according to the UN. Local authorities reported the violence resulted in an unconfirmed number of civilian deaths and injuries.
In mid-November, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) received reports that an unidentified group had kidnapped a health care worker in Sabha. Humanitarian actors continue to urge all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and ensure the safety and security of all civilians, including health care workers. In midNovember, the UN called for unimpeded humanitarian access to people in need across Libya. Although most international organizations and UN agencies evacuated the country in mid-2014 following an escalation in conflict, some relief actors, including USG partners, have recently initiated efforts to reestablish international staff presence and operational coverage in certain areas of Libya.
As of October 2017, IOM had identified approximately 199,000 IDPs and 304,300 returnees in Libya. Approximately 93 percent of surveyed IDPs cited the threat or fear of conflict and presence of armed groups as reasons for leaving areas of origin; IDPs in more than 60 percent of municipalities reported the same reasons for not returning to areas of origin, according to the October report. IDPs also identified damaged public infrastructure, the threat or presence of ERW, and economic factors as reasons for continued displacement. Benghazi, Misrata, and Tripoli districts continue to host the majority of IDPs.
Although nearly 50 percent of IDPs in 2016 fled insecurity in northern Libya’s Sirte District, the majority of IDPs returned to areas of origin in Sirte, as well as to Benghazi, Al Jabal Al Gharbi, Misrata, and Ubari districts, in September and October 2017.
Libya is a primary transit area for migrants and refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea to enter Europe, despite insecurity and human rights concerns. As of October, UNHCR had registered nearly 44,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Libya.