Sirt Flash Appeal September - December 2016 [EN/AR]

Originally published



US $10.7 million Designed to provide 79,400 people in Sirt with life-saving assistance and protection from September to December 2016.



The situation in Sirt has entered a new stage: Military operations against the terrorist group, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), have triggered new displacement as well as return movements, resulting in a complex and acute humanitarian situation. Forces of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) commenced military operations to re-capture Sirt from ISIL in May 2016, and have since gained control of the outer Sirt municipality, as well as most parts of Sirt city.

Latest reports indicate ISIL has been pushed back to the city center, and the GNA anticipates that all territory will be re-captured within weeks.

Displacement from Sirt increased significantly over the past year, as families fled harsh conditions under ISIL rule. Sirt constituted ISIL’s largest stronghold outside of Iraq and Syria, following the group’s take-over of the city in February 2015. Those who fled the area report severe shortages of food and medicines, looting and confiscations, and serious rights violations, including public beheadings, “crucifixions” on scaffolding and abductions. The start of military operations against ISIL in early May 2016 prompted new displacement, with people fleeing primarily to Bani Waleed, Misratah, Tarhuna, Tripoli, and Al Jufrah. An estimated 90,500 people had fled from Sirt to other parts of Libya at this stage.

As military operations advanced, pushing ISIL fighters back, families have started returning to the towns and residential areas around Sirt city. Latest data from the Sirt Crisis Committee (SCC) indicate many families have already returned, with 48,300 people estimated to currently reside within the Sirt municipality. This includes people who have returned, as well as people who had remained in the liberated areas. Estimates of the number of people still residing in Sirt City itself vary widely as active conflict continues.

Return movements are expected to continue, and are likely to accelerate once the GNA forces announce military success. Humanitarian partners anticipate that by the end of the year, some 79,400 people will be residing in Sirt municipality and certain districts of Sirt city, although much of the city itself will likely remain inaccessible for several months.

Families returning to Sirt are facing extremely difficult conditions. While the scale of damage to civilian infrastructure is not yet known, available sources indicate an urgent need for drinking water and basic supplies, including food stocks and essential household items. Health services have been severely disrupted and lack life-saving medicines. Families, many of which have been living under ISIL occupation, require targeted protection services and psychosocial support. Many homes in the outskirts have taken in additional families from unsafe parts of the city centre, straining scarce resources and overcrowding houses. Extreme adverse economic conditions are affecting all Libyans, but for displaced families who are largely without physical assets having left their homes, this is particularly devastating.

Explosive remnants of war (ERWs) and deliberately planted improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are a particular concern, and will likely render much of Sirt city inaccessible for the coming months. ERWs and IEDs contamination puts returning populations at risk of death or serious injury and will hinder reconstruction efforts. Given the need for debris clearance, mines and ERWs decontamination, it is cautioned that no largescale returns into much of Sirt city should be permitted before the official declaration that the city has been cleared of ERWs and IEDs.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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