On 15 October, UNHCR evacuated a group of 153 vulnerable refugees and asylum-seekers out of Libya to the Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) in Niger. This marks the end of a sevenmonth long suspension of evacuation flights from Libya, due to the COVID-19 pandemic; all passengers tested negative prior to departure. The majority of evacuees had experienced arbitrary detention in Libya – with some detained for more than two years. UNHCR is grateful for the support of the Libyan authorities for facilitating the procedures that led to this long-awaited flight. Evacuees will now receive humanitarian assistance at the ETM, including shelter, food, and medical care while further options for them, such as resettlement, are pursued. In 2020, with this latest flight, UNHCR has now assisted 502 vulnerable refugees out of Libya, including 221 resettled in Europe.
As of 14 October, 8,998 refugees and migrants have been registered as rescued/intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) and disembarked in Libya. The population comprises 84 per cent men, 7.7 per cent women and 8.3 per cent children. The majority of those who disembarked this year are Sudanese followed by Bangladeshi and Malian nationals.
On 12 October, UNHCR took part in a joint visit to Al Ajaylat town (100 km west of Tripoli) with the Libyan Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and partner LibAid. The aim of the visit was to assess and monitor the conditions of displaced families residing in the area. The major concerns reported included lack of stable income and poor housing conditions.
As COVID-19 cases rapidly increase across Libya, UNHCR continues to support activities aimed at mitigating the impact of the virus. On 15 October, UNHCR distributed 80 hygiene kits and sanitary cloth to the Gheryan isolation centre, where suspected COVID-19 cases are quarantined and monitored. On 14 October similar distributions were made to the isolation centre at Zintan.
UNHCR and partners continue to visit government-run detention centres (DCs), where more than 3,400 refugees and migrants are estimated to be held. In eastern Libya, partner PUI conducted visits to Ganfouda DC on 12 and 15 October and also made a visit to Ajdabiya DC 13 October. On 15 October, UNHCR distributed blankets and mattresses to 164 refugees and migrants held at Triq al Sikka DC in Tripoli.
Last week, partner CESVI provided cash assistance to 108 refugees and asylumseekers living in the urban community in Tripoli (81 families). This included regular cash assistance to five individuals (four families) and emergency cash assistance to 103 individuals (44 families). Last week, UNHCR partner, the Danish Refugee Council, started a second round of pre-paid cash cards for 500 displaced Libyan families, reaching 203 households. The distribution continued this week on 12 October with the remaining 297 families being targeted.
At the Serraj Registration Office, UNHCR has newly registered 257 individuals from Sudan (119), Syria (74), Somalia (18), Eritrea (16), Palestine (14), Ethiopia (8), Nigeria (5) and South Sudan (3).