On 26 March, an interagency distribution of core relief items (CRIs) was undertaken by the Libyan Red Crescent (LRC) in Tripoli. Mattresses, blankets, warm clothes, hygiene kits, and food parcels were provided to 242 persons, including families, in dire need of assistance. The distribution was coordinated by OCHA with the participation of IOM, MSF, DRC, and UNHCR.
As of 26 March, 2,677 refugees and migrants have been registered as rescued/intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard and disembarked in Libya. So far this year, 530 persons of concern to UNHCR mainly from Sudan but also Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia and Palestine have disembarked in Libya. UNHCR and its partner, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), continue to provide medical assistance and CRIs at disembarkation points.
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), and in line with guidance provided by Libyan Authorities, UNHCR Libya temporarily halted its activities at its Sarraj Registration Centre area and at its Community Day Centre (CDC), both in Tripoli, from 18 to 24 March. On 25 March, UNHCR with its partners, CESVI and IRC, resumed its operations at the CDC, providing health services, cash assistance, protection services and emergency registration to limited numbers of persons on an appointment only basis. Necessary measures have been put in place to fulfil the safety requirements of the Libyan health authorities, reorganize activities, and equip the CDC with the necessary personal protective equipment to ensure the safety of refugees, staff, partners and local community.
Currently, registration and refugee status determination appointments at the the Sarraj Registration Office still remain on hold until further notice. Urgent registration or documentation questions are being dealt with through the UNHCR Registration Hotline. These hotlines have continued to operate and respond to the queries of UNHCR’s persons of concern in Libya. This week, Tripoli and Benghazi hotlines received 51 calls (covering 125 persons/family members). Information on resettlement, registration and community assistance was provided along with counselling and appointment booking.
The operation has instituted remote registration and document verification for newborn babies. Partners have also been requested to ensure that any refugees and asylum-seekers showing up with expired registration certificates are, until further notice, treated exactly the same way as those holding valid registration documents in terms of their access to protection and assistance services based on the applicable eligible criteria. The process of registration is an invaluable protection tool as it enables the early identification of vulnerable individuals with specific needs within a population and their referral to an available protection response.