UNHCR Flash Update Libya (11 - 18 May 2018 ) [EN/AR]

from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 18 May 2018

Key figures:

184,612 Libyans currently internally displaced (IDPs)

368,583 returned IDPs (returns registered in 2016 - March 2018)

52,031 registered refugees and asylumseekers in the State of Libya

10,616 persons arrived in Italy by sea in 2018

520 monitoring visits to detention centres so far in 2018

1,273 asylum-seekers and refugees released from detention so far in 2018 (including for evacuations)

1,609 vulnerable refugees and asylumseekers evacuated since November 2017

Funding USD 85 M required for 2018


On 16 May, UNHCR evacuated 135 persons of concern (36 men, 63 women and 36 children) from Tripoli to UNHCR’s Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) in Niger. This is the second flight to Niamey following the resumption of the humanitarian evacuation program. As of 16 May, UNHCR has evacuated 1,609 individuals out of Libya (1,287 to the ETM, 312 to Italy and 10 to Romania) and submitted 465 cases for resettlement to third countries.

On 15 May, UNHCR conducted an inter-agency mission to Sirte (455 km East of Tripoli) with OCHA, UNICEF and IOM. This was the first mission of international staff to the city by land. The team met with the mayor of the city and civil society organizations to discuss future collaboration to support displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees in the area and their most urgent needs. Healthcare was highlighted by the authorities as a pressing need. The Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) reports that a total of 13,893 IDPs and 72,960 returnees are currently living in Sirte.

On 14 May, UNHCR airlifted a second group of 86 persons in need of international protection from Zwara (102 km west of Tripoli) to Tripoli. The group included 79 men and seven women from Eritrean, Ethiopia and Somalia. They will remain in a detention facility until they can be evacuated by UNHCR under its humanitarian evacuation programme.

Populations Movements

As of 15 May, 6,551 refugees and migrants were disembarked in Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG). During the week, 211 individuals (168 men, 34 women and nine children) were disembarked at the Tripoli Naval Base. The majority of those disembarked were Eritrean. Following recent trends, the boats departed from Al Khums (120 km East of Tripoli) and Zwara (118 Km West of Tripoli).
UNHCR and its partner, International Medical Corps (IMC) provided urgent medical and humanitarian assistance at the disembarkation points and at the detention centres where they were then transferred by the authorities.

UNHCR Response

On 13 and 14 May, UNHCR and its partner LibAid distributed NFIs to 754 displaced Tawerghan families (4,525 individuals) living in settlements in Ajdabya and Benghazi. One of the distributions took place in Al Haleys settlement, the largest IDP Tawerghan settlement in Benghazi, hosting 1,317 individuals. UNHCR provided humanitarian assistance (including kitchen sets, sleeping mats, solar lamps, blankets, plastic sheets, diapers, jerry cans, hygiene and sanitary kits) to 1,900 families who have been displaced in the south of Libya as a result of ongoing clashes. The families are living in private and public buildings in Sabha and Marzuq. UNHCR continues to respond to the needs of displaced families in Libya, where so far 16,810 IDPs received NFIs in 2018.

With the support of European Union funding, a three day capacity-building workshop on refugee and IDP protection took place in Tripoli from 14 to 16 May. Participants included 30 female staff working in the Ministry of Interior.

UNHCR is following-up on the situation of refugees and migrants in Gharyan detention centre, following reports of disappearances from the detention centre. UNHCR has supported the transfer of 600 refugees and migrants from Gharyan and Azizia to Tripoli, with a view to ensure they remain in a safer location, and has provided material, medical and psychosocial support to transferred individuals.