• Crisis Severity ?
    4.1
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    4.0
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    4.0
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    4.2
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    4.0
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 6,871,000 Total population [?]
  • 1,800,000 People affected [?]
  • 1,535,000 People displaced [?]
  • 1,673 Fatalities reported [?]
  • 1,026,000 People in Need [?]

Overview

20/08/2020

Libya has been mired in conflict since 2011 with increasing international and military support for local warring parties. Despite an arms embargo, foreign weapons and mercenaries have contributed to fuelling the conflict.? Local warring parties are the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, controlling the west of the country, and the House of Representatives (HoR) in Tobruk, supported by the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) of Khalifa Haftar,  which control large swathes of territory in the east and centre. The south is controlled by tribesmen and armed militias.?

As of May 2020, the GNA forces have regained territory and cities through a year-long offensive that pushed the battlefront to the city of Sirte, around 450km east of Tripoli.?

Instability has led to mass civilian displacement based on shifting frontlines and put 1 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. ? As of June 2020, there were 426,000 IDPs (one-fourth in the Tripoli area) and 457,000 returnees.? Severe access constraints hamper aid delivery, while indiscriminate violence targeting civilians and health, water, and education infrastructure is regularly reported. ? COVID-19 restrictions have hindered Libyans’ and migrants’ access to services and livelihoods.?

The country hosts 626,000 migrants, including 47,000 registered asylum seekers and refugees.? Libya is a transition area for some of the migrants en route to Italy. Authorities regularly intercept them at sea and transfer them to formal and informal detention centres. As of August 2020, around 2,500 refugees and migrants are detained.? Migrants identify health, accommodation, NFIs and WASH as their main needs.? They are also exposed to life-threatening hazards and protection violations.?

Humanitarian Access

14/07/2020

Very High constraints

With the Libya-Tunisia border closing due to COVID-19 containment measures, hundreds of Tunisian migrants found themselves blocked at the border and in need of humanitarian assistance before they could return to Tunisia. Humanitarians in Libya faced new obstacles due to COVID-19 restrictions beyond pre-existing checkpoints, road closures, and the presence of competing authorities. For example, few organisations secured curfew passes to move around during the pandemic. Different authorities continue interfering in aid delivery and distribution, especially when aid is destined to areas controlled by opposing forces. Insecurity persists with frequent attacks on civilian infrastructures. Fuel shortages, absent or inadequate infrastructure needed for aid delivery, and the remote location of some communities in need also hamper humanitarian operations.

Read more in the latest ACAPS Humanitarian Access Overview.

Risk

The opening of a new frontline along the Abu Qurayn-Tawergha-Misrata main road leads to displacement and protection violations, while threatening the livelihoods of the population of the three centres. Latest update: 25/03/2020

Probability

Highly unlikely Somewhat likely Highly likely

Impact

Very low Moderate Major

RATIONALE

The road connecting Abu Qurayn and Misrata is a strategic artery, which might soon be subject to increasingly intense attacks by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF). Peace efforts are stagnating, while the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and its allies are under increasing economic and military pressure. With UN negotiations slowing down after the resignation of UN Envoy Ghassan Salamé and multiple ceasefire violations reported at the end of February, the new battlefront might be definitively opened.? Misrata is one of only five enclaves under GNA control and connects by road directly to Tripoli. This eastern front of GNA forces has been under pressure since the LAAF entered Sirte on 10 January and took its Ghardabiya military airbase, a vantage point for a military campaign.? Furthermore, Misratan militias have shown signs of internal division, as some of those responsible for the defence of Sirte withdrew, leaving the city to the LAAF.? Misratan militias have given essential military support to the GNA in Tripoli, including during the offensive started in April 2019.? An escalation of ground clashes from Abu Qurayn and more intense shelling along the main road up to and including Misrata would oblige the GNA to divert forces from the capital, thinning out its defences, and put further pressure on the Tripoli government, as it struggles economically with a LAAFimposed blockade of oil exports.?
Routine violations of the 2011 arms embargo and continuous inflow of foreign weapons and personnel (benefitting both parties), are likely to result in the LAAF having enough resources to open the battlefront.?
 
IMPACT

The humanitarian consequences of the offensive would resemble those in Tripoli. The Misrata region already hosts the third highest number of people in need countrywide: 83,000 of the regional population of 580,000.? The number of people in need and overall level of need will grow. Based on recent displacement in the region, thousands from Abu Qurayn, Tawergha, and Misrata would be expected to flee to Misrata city and Sirte, adding to the 48,800 IDPs in both regions, with some thousands going as far east as Benghazi.? Civilians remaining in the cities to protect their homes and employment will risk injury or death related to shelling and crossfire, as well as human rights violations. Detainees will also be exposed.? Extreme economic and livelihoods losses would ensue. Some 70% of the 400,000 Misratans work in trade and industry. The insecurity will shrink production and increase unemployment.? One-third of Misratans already spend over 75% of their income on food and they lack coping capacity; the livelihoods of several of the 59,000 migrants in the region surviving on informal work  would also be affected.? Targeting of health facilities and personnel will further diminish access to medicines and specialised care. Disruption of waste management will increase the risk of disease outbreak.? Schools will likely become increasingly overcrowded - 11% of schools are already closed regionally - and children exposed to danger travelling to and from school.? As the Tripoli Mitiga airport is often non-operational, a closure of Misrata’s airport will deprive civilians of yet another exit and humanitarians of a supply route.? Impediments to cargo delivery due to attacks on the seaport will also undermine access.?

Read this risk

COVID-19 Outbreak

20/08/2020

Libya registered 7,050 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 135 related deaths as of 14 August. ?COVID-19 is threatening both the health, livelihoods, and protection needs of Libyans, refugees, and migrants with a rising number of confirmed cases. Those more reliant on informal and daily labour such as IDPs and migrants were hard-hit by COVID-19 restrictions, partially or completely losing their livelihoods. 29% of the migrants surveyed in June 2020 claimed they were unemployed compared to 17% in February 2020.? The Minimum Expenditure Basket (MEB) in July 2020 was 23% more expensive than before the pandemic. Rising commodity prices and loss of livelihoods are threatening the purchasing power of the most vulnerable, and shrinking their savings.  The percentage of food insecure IDPs has risen by 3 points and food insecure migrants and refugees by an estimated 14 points compared to before the outbreak.?

Key Priorities

20/08/2020

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: Water provision services fall short, either due to conflict or rundown systems, leaving people without water for weeks.?

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.?