Crisis Severity The severity score from 1 to 5 is based on 31 indicators aggregated into 3 pillars (impact, conditions, and complexity)4.00 Very lowVery high 5
Impact This measures the impact of the crisis itself, in terms of the scope of its geographical, and human effects.4.00 Very lowVery high 5
Humanitarian Conditions This measures the conditions and status of the people affected, including info about the distribution of severity.3.80 Very lowVery high 5
Complexity This measures the complexity of the crisis, in terms of factors that affect its mitigation or resolution.4.40 Very lowVery high 5
Access Constraints This measures the level of humanitarian access constraints.5.0No constraintsExtreme constraints
CrisisInSIght: Global Risk Analysis
Libya: Escalation of conflict
Humanitarian Access Overview
Libya has been in conflict since 2011. There is increasing international and military support for local parties to the conflict, which include the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (which controls the west of the country) and the House of Representatives in Tobruk (supported by the Libyan Arab Armed Forces, which controls large amounts of territory in the east and centre of Libya). The south is controlled by tribesmen and armed militias. Foreign weapons and mercenaries have contributed to the conflict, despite an arms embargo.?
Instability has led to mass displacement and left 1.3 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.?There are over 316,000 IDPs (22% in the Tripoli area) and around 568,000 returnees in the country.? Since the ceasefire agreement was signed in October 2020, more than 44,000 people have returned to their homes in Tripoli and neighbouring cities thanks to the improved security situation. Returns continue to be hampered however by the presence of explosive hazards (mostly in the southern neighbourhoods of Tripoli), damage to civilian infrastructure, and protection challenges.
Civilians are affected by the use of heavy weapons in residential areas and violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, including executions, unlawful killings, abductions, GBV, and other forms of abuse.?Severe access constraints hamper aid delivery, while indiscriminate violence targets health, water, and education infrastructure. COVID-19 restrictions have hindered Libyans’ and migrants’ access to services and livelihoods.?
The country hosts over 574,000 migrants, including about 44,000 registered asylum seekers and refugees.?Libya is a transition area for some migrants en route to Italy. Authorities regularly intercept migrants at sea and transfer them to formal and informal detention centres in Libya. Currently, between 2,200 and 3,100 migrants and refugees are detained in official detention centres.? Migrants are exposed to severe protection violations and have identified health, accommodation, NFIs, and WASH as their main needs.
No significant recent humanitarian developments. This crisis is being monitored by our analysis team.
Libya’s borders with Tunisia and Egypt remain partially closed as a result of COVID-19 containment mea - sures, likely affecting aid passing through these borders. Humanitarians in Libya face new obstacles because of COVID-19 restrictions beyond pre-existing checkpoints, road closures, and the presence of competing authorities. Few organisations have secured curfew passes to move around during the pandemic, and the movement restrictions that existed even before COVID-19 remain an issue. Military operations and hostilities impede humanitarian operations. Libya also remains unsafe for humanita - rian workers with targeted killings, injuries, and kidnapping incidents reported in the last six months of 2020. Different authorities continue to interfere in aid delivery and distribution, especially when aid is destined to areas controlled by opposing forces. Insecurity persists with frequent attacks on civilian infrastructure, limiting the affected population’s access to services. Fuel shortages, absent or inade - quate infrastructure for aid delivery, and the remote location of some communities in need also hamper humanitarian operations. Because of its remote location and some restrictions on movement, there is low humanitarian operational presence in the southern region. Remote areas in the east and west of the country also lack operational presence. Thousands of migrants and refugees continue to be held in overcrowded detention centres across Libya, limiting their access to basic services.
Read more in the latest ACAPS Humanitarian Access Overview.
Evolution of violent events in Libya since start escalation in Tripoli (April 2019)
Source : ACLED - https://www.acleddata.com/
IDPs and Returnees tracked by IOM DTM
Source : IOM - https://displacement.iom.int/libya
A ceasefire agreement between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and the Government of National Accord (GNA) was reached in October 2020, following conflict escalation around Tripoli between April 2019-June 2020. Conflict levels have decreased, but the agreement is very general and open to competing interpretations, misunderstandings, or intentional ambiguity - which are likely to undermine the peace process.?
A new interim executive authority was elected by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum in February 2021 with a mandate to formulate a new government, establish a safe security situation, and organise elections in December 2021.? The task of creating a cabinet that satisfies all factions has been challenging for the Prime Minister designate Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, and disputes about new appointments were still ongoing as at mid-March. The new government is likely to face serious challenges in unifying divided institutions and the military, and in reaching an agreement on oil revenues. Gaining legitimacy among local armed groups also remains a challenge, impeding the creation of a unified state security apparatus. Failure to appoint a defense minister or unite military and political institutions could undermine the peace process, potentially delaying the election and aggravating political disputes.?
Although troop withdrawals and foreign fighter repatriation were at the centre of the ceasefire agreement, foreign armed groups and mercenaries remain in Libya, sustaining rivalries between military factions.? The failure of the new authority to achieve political progress and get sustained support from foreign countries such as Turkey, Russia, United Arab Emirates, and Egypt could lead to local and foreign armed groups rejecting the new authority and returning to violence, disrupting the fragile ceasefire. Growing fragmentation within the parliament and tensions between local actors attempting to exert control over territories and national resources would likely lead to renewed conflict, aggravated by mercenaries and continued foreign weapon inflows.
If the peace process and ceasefire fail, conflict is likely to escalate between the GNA, the LNA, and local and foreign armed groups. Tripoli, Sirte, and Aljufra governorates would be most affected by fighting because of their political importance and oil reserves. If fighting erupts, up to 150,000 people are expected to be displaced within three months from and within Tripoli, Sirte, and Benghazi governorates to safer areas. Up to 250,000 people would need additional assistance in conflict areas.? Some IDPs, particularly those from Tripoli, would experience displacement again, after having returned to their areas of origin during the ceasefire.
Fighting is expected to affect critical facilities such as airports, oil facilities, hospitals, schools, and water and sanitation infrastructure, leading to decreases in service provision and increased levels of needs. Migrants will be particularly vulnerable to conflict-driven protection concerns, as they are expected to experience increased incidents of killings, torture, arbitrary detention, sexual abuse, forced labour, extortion, and exploitation as a result of the escalation. 53% of migrants in Libya live in the west region.? Disputes over control of the Libya Central Bank and oil revenues, compounded by fragmentation and a lack of political stability, will likely have severe economic consequences.? Lack of resources and disrupted access will likely increase shortages of medical supplies and delays in salaries for medical staff, leading to additional pressures on and interruption of services in healthcare facilities, which are already overwhelmed by COVID-19. Humanitarian access will be hampered by heavy fighting, mine contamination, and movement restrictions. A significant increase in the number of humanitarian access constraints can be expected.?
Read the full Global Risk Analysis here.
Libya had registered 51,625 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of 22 October, with 765 related deaths. There has been an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Libya in recent months. The number of confirmed cases in September was nearly double the number recorded in August. Most cases have been identified in Tripoli city. There is a shortage of testing labs across the country; it is likely that the actual number of positive cases is much higher. Fuel shortages and continuous electricity and water shortages are severely impacting the healthcare sector. ?
The spread of COVID-19 is aggravating health, livelihoods, and protection needs of Libyans, refugees, and migrants. Those who are more reliant on informal and daily labour, such as IDPs and migrants, have been hard-hit by COVID-19 restrictions put in place since March, and have partially or completely lost their livelihoods. As of 30 September, 86% of migrants – across 49 municipalities in Libya – who rely on daily labour were reported to have been negatively affected by the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic.?
Protection: Over 475,000 people are in need of protection assistance. Close to 500 civilians were killed in the first half of 2020 due to the indiscriminate nature of violence. Explosive remnants of war are a major risk for returnees in western cities and residents of Sirte.?
Health: Twenty attacks on health facilities were reported in the first half of 2020. The health system is struggling to provide essential healthcare, including vaccinations, and COVID-19 treatment amid staff and medicine shortages.?
Livelihoods and food security: Rising commodity prices have been depleting people’s savings. The number of food-insecure people has risen from 336,000 at the beginning of 2020 to 683,000 in May 2020, including 209,000 migrants, due to multiple factors including COVID-19 constraints.?
Shelter and NFIs: Long power shortages are common and are increasingly reported in the east and west of Libya. Returnees often find their houses destroyed or damaged houses and are unable to afford reconstruction costs. Thousands of IDPs are living in hazardous and substandard conditions. There is a decreasing supply of safe and affordable housing.?
WASH: Over 4 million people were facing water shortages in Libya as at January 2021. Attacks on water systems, power cuts, and a lack of repair items have led to a significant decline in services. This puts pressure on families to secure water. The problem is likely to worsen over the next few months with the start of the summer season.?
Education: Schools are currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, leaving 1.3 million children at risk of not finding an alternative form of learning. Before and during the pandemic attacks on education infrastructure were reported.?
UPDATE FROM THE MARCH 2020 RISK ANALYSIS
The opening of a new frontline along the Abu QuraynTawergha-Misrata main road leads to displacement and protection violations, while threatening the livelihoods of the population of the three centres.
Although Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) took the strategic coastal city of Sirte – 500km east of Tripoli – in Jan - uary, the military victory did not translate into further territorial gains towards Tripoli city. As of October 2020, Misrata remained under the control of the Government of National Accord with no major offensive taking place. Since March, however, there has been increased mobilisation of forces, air strikes, and exchange of indirect fire along the front lines near Abu Qurayn and Wash - kah, south of Mirsrata and west of Sirte. The use of drones by both sides has increased, with the LAAF targeting areas east of Tripoli and Misrata. Drones were used in heavy fighting which took place throughout March around Abu Qurayn (400km to the east of Tripoli), though both sides claimed victory.?
Serious casualties were reported by both sides. During March and April, there were new displacements because of an increase in armed conflicts in western Libya. Abu Qurayn was one area that witnessed new displacements as a result of the substantial deterioration of the security situation. Sirte district recorded 12,925 IDPs in March–April 2020. Sporadic attacks on Abu Qurayn village are taking place to this day. No major displacement movement was reported in Tawergha or Mis - rata. Overall civilian casualties have risen, increasing protection needs, as a result of the escalation in hostilities throughout the country since March, especially in western Libya.?
Read the latest October Risk Analysis here