UNHCR Flash Update Libya (28 August - 6 September, 2017)

from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 06 Sep 2017

Key figures

  • 226,164 Libyans currently internally displaced persons (IDPs)

  • 267,002 returned IDPs (returns registered in 2017)

  • 42,834 registered refugees and asylumseekers in Libya

  • 99,742 persons arrived in Italy by sea so far in 2017

Population Movements

As of 31 August 2017, 42,834 refugees and asylum-seekers are registered with UNHCR in Libya. Since UNHCR resumed registration in 2016, almost 6,140 individuals have been registered, and 488 were registered during the month of August. Men represent 42% of those registered, while women and children represent 28% and 30%, respectively. Syrians continue to represent the highest number of registered refugees and asylum-seekers (50%), followed by Palestinians (16%), Eritreans (11%), Sudanese (8%) and Iraqis (7%). These individuals are at risk of violence, exploitation and abuse including restricted access to basic services. Through UNHCR registration and documentation activities, refugees are able to gain better access to public services, including schools and hospitals.

As of 31 August, the Libyan Coast Guard rescued/intercepted at sea a total of 10,592 refugees and migrants in 2017, an increase of 4.9% when compared to the same period in 2016. The number of rescues/interceptions increased sharply in August (1,741 individuals; up from 686 individuals in July), but remains lower than in June (1,922 individuals). In August, UNHCR noted a slight increase in the number of women (8%) and children (5%), although the overall majority continue to be men (87%).

West African nationalities remain the most prevalent group rescued/intercepted at sea. Throughout August, UNHCR, through its partner International Medical Corps (IMC), provided medical services, rescue kits, food and water at six disembarkation points, in Azzawya, Tripoli (3), Tajoura (Al Hamidiyah) and Alkhums. In addition, UNHCR continued the construction of shaded areas and WASH facilities for use by refugees and migrants upon disembarkation. These areas provide shelter from the elements and access to hygiene facilities for men, women and children.

UNHCR Response

UNHCR has developed an internal data collection tool for the initial identification and profiling of refugees who have disembarked in Libya. The tool has been used at disembarkation points since 1 September. The tool will allow real-time reports to be produced, including information on nationality, age, disembarkation points, gender, specific vulnerabilities, as well as destination and assistance received at disembarkation points that UNHCR has or gets access to. With this tool, UNHCR will be more able to follow-up on the specific situation of persons of concern, and advocate for their release from detention.

UNHCR and LibAid continued the distribution of core relief item kits to over 3,260 IDPs and returnees (545 households) in Al-Sabri and Sooq al-Hoot, north of Benghazi. IDPs received sleeping mats, kitchen sets, blankets, hygiene kits and plastic sheets. Recently, UNHCR in partnership with ACTED, also provided cash-based assistance to 3,000 IDPs and returnees staying in and around Benghazi.
To ensure easy access to UNHCR, and to meet the emergency needs of persons of concern, 24-hour hotlines are providing emergency support. During the reporting period, UNHCR hotlines received 50 calls, mostly from Syrian refugees requesting cash assistance to help them address the challenges posed by reduced livelihood opportunities and the liquidity crisis.

Home visits to refugee dwellings conducted by UNHCR and partners, are a way to assess refugees’ vulnerabilities and living conditions in an environment of privacy. UNHCR, IMC and CESVI visited 41 Syrian, Ethiopian and Palestinian refugees living in and around Tripoli. Thanks to these monitoring visits, UNHCR is able to followup on specific cases, assess the vulnerabilities of families and deliver core relief items directly to refugees’ houses.