Libya

Libya: Humanitarian Access Report (June 2020)

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Situation Report
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979 access constraints/ incidents reported

733 COVID-19-related access constraints

1 million people in need of humanitarian assistance

Key Findings:

  • Humanitarian partners reported a total of 979 access constraints during June 2020.

  • Compared to May 2020, there is a four per cent decrease in reported access constraints.
    Out of the 979 reported constraints, 733 were either directly or indirectly linked to the COVID-19 measures. Several of these constraints existed before the COVID-19 crisis but were further amplified and complicated by the emergence of COVID-19.

  • Overall, the total percentage of bureaucratic constraints reported (restrictions of humanitarian elements in getting access into Libya and within Libya) equal 91% of all reported constraints.

  • INGOs are facing increased delays and difficulties in obtaining Libyan visas for their international staff members.

  • UNHAS resumed its flights after a suspension period that lasted more than three months.

  • Relaxations in movement restrictions have been granted by the authorities.

  • The West Region continues to have the highest number of access constraints out of all the regions with a total of 404 reported access constraints (41%) followed by the East and South regions with 368 (38%) and 207 (21%) reported access constraints respectively.

  • Out of all reported access constraints during the month, only 458 could be linked to the different humanitarian sectors, out of which 333 constraints can be linked to COVID-19 related measures.

  • The average sector-specific response rate at the national level equals 43% as of May 2020, with major fluctuations in response across the different sectors at the Mantika-level.

  • Funding for humanitarian activities remains a major access constraint impacting all humanitarian sectors as the average HRP funding gap across all sectors is nearly 84% as of 31 May.

Overview:

A total of 979 humanitarian access constraints were reported during June 2020, which signifies the first monthly decrease in reported access constraints since March 2020. Compared to May 2020, there is a decrease in reported constraints of more than four per cent. Out of the 979 reported constraints, 733 were either directly or indirectly linked to the COVID-19 measures. This report aims to identify the main access constraints affecting the humanitarian situation and people in need. A total of 1 million people in Libya are in need of some form of humanitarian and protection assistance. Humanitarian partners operating in Libya are the main source of information in the report. The reporting framework set to produce the monthly access reports is becoming more robust from month to month, as more focused information is leading to more in-depth analyses, including at the humanitarian sector-level and at the geographic locations-level. Humanitarian partners are requested to continue providing inputs on a timely basis to strengthen the analysis and relevance of these reports. The humanitarian community in Libya uses these analyses to work with all relevant stakeholders to pursue ways to mitigate humanitarian access constraints in order to ensure to the extent possible that vulnerable people in Libya are given the assistance that they need.

During June 2020, humanitarian partners reported a total of 675 access constraints in the form of restrictions on movements of humanitarian agencies, humanitarian personnel, or humanitarian goods into Libya. This category of access challenges continues to make up the majority of access constraints reported by humanitarian partners in the humanitarian operation in Libya with 69% of all reported constraints, which is an increase of about 5% compared to constraints of the same category recorded in May 2020.

All 675 reported constraints for the month are bureaucratic in nature. These constraints include blockages in the issuance of Libyan visas for INGO international humanitarian staff, as several of these staff members had applied to renew their visas during the month without receiving approvals from the relevant authorities. COVID-19 measures imposed by the national authorities introduced new procedures, a lot of which are unclear, to regulate the process of issuing visas for INGO international staff members and this has resulted in significant delays. To reiterate what was called for during May 2020, there is a crucial need for national authorities to rationalize the processes by which visas are issued to international humanitarian staff members. INGOs are an integral part of the humanitarian community and the Humanitarian Program Cycle (HPC) in Libya. Therefore, any hindrances INGOs encounter will impede the effectiveness of the entire humanitarian community in achieving its goals in responding to those in need.

Air traffic restrictions continued to impact humanitarian operations. Commercial flights were suspended throughout the month and UNSMIL flights were the only means for humanitarians to reach Libya up until 30 June. Following negotiations with the Tunisian authorities, UNHAS managed to organize its first flight since 23 March when it arranged for a flight from Tunis to Benghazi on 30 June. It is expected that UNHAS will resume its regular flights in the coming period. This puts an end to a 98-day suspension period, in which UNHAS was unable to organize flights because of restrictions from the Tunisian authorities, and to a lesser extent, because of COVID-19 measures put in place by the authorities in Libya.

Humanitarian agencies wishing to start their operations in Libya continued to report delays and inconsistencies in the registration processes for humanitarian organizations to obtain work permits in order to operate legitimately in Libya. Some of these delays are due to challenges faced in processing required documentation in the INGOs’ country (IES) of origin **.

In addition, inconsistencies and delays in importing humanitarian items have had a significant impact on people in need because of delays in obtaining clearances from the national authorities in Tunisia and Libya. Health Sector partners in particular highlighted this as a major constraint impacting vulnerable groups’ access to much needed Health items coming from abroad.

There was a considerable decrease in restrictions on activities and on movement of agencies’ personnel or goods within Libya compared to the previous month. In June, humanitarian partners reported 210 constraints and incidents within this category compared to 280 reports in May (which is a 25% reduction in constraints). The 280 reported constraints make up 21% of all reported constraints in June. The decrease in restrictions (mostly COVID-19 related restrictions) was evident when humanitarian actors were given clearances to mobilize resources to respond to the needs of the displaced families fleeing Tarhuna during and after the intense fighting in the municipality. Sirte is experiencing similar escalation in conflict, which may lead to similar trends of displacement and the emergence of humanitarian needs. Therefore, it is necessary for the relevant authorities to provide an atmosphere that is conducive to humanitarian response, so that people in need can access humanitarian assistance that humanitarian agencies are prepositioned to provide.

Despite this improvement, some partners continued to report delays and difficulties as a result of COVID-19 related measures, including restrictions in movements from one location (municipality) to another. Other partners reported that restrictions were imposed on movements intended to reach locations under opposing political and military parties. Furthermore, partners reported other difficulties that they encountered during the month such as irregularities, inconsistencies and ambiguities in the procedures and regulations that humanitarians need to adhere to in order to get clearances for projects, activities and movements from national, local and technical authorities. Such challenges predate the COVID-19 global pandemic and only complicated matters further for the people in need.

Humanitarian supplies and resources are very much concentrated and warehoused in Tripoli. This presents various bureaucratic and logistical challenges when humanitarian needs emerge outside of Tripoli. Therefore, there is a need for the humanitarian community to decentralize and preposition resources across the country to make it simpler for organizations to maneuver during emergency situations. The Humanitarian Response Plan should serve as the main blueprint for positioning resources.

Overall, the total percentage of bureaucratic constraints reported (restrictions of humanitarian elements in getting access into Libya and within Libya) equal 91% of all reported constraints.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.