Crisis Severity The severity score from 1 to 5 is based on 31 indicators aggregated into 3 pillars (impact, conditions, and complexity)4.10 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.4.00 Very lowVery high 5
Complexity This measures the complexity of the crisis, in terms of factors that affect its mitigation or resolution.4.20 Very lowVery high 5
Access Constraints This measures the level of humanitarian access constraints.4.0No constraintsExtreme constraints
Libya: Escalation of conflict
Civil war since 2014 has generated shortages of food, fuel, water, medical supplies and electricity, and reduced access to healthcare and public services. Multiple parties are fighting for control of the country. Libya is divided among two governments: the House of Representatives (HOR) based in eastern Libya and a UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli. Both governments rely on the support of militias, and alliances are subject to local territorial, political and economic interests. The Libyan National Army (LNA), a mix of tribal or regional-based armed groups allied with the HOR, is another major stakeholder to the conflict. ?
Insecurity has greatly limited humanitarian access and hindered the planning and delivery of humanitarian assistance. Healthcare is limited by lack of medical staff, structural damage, and shortages of medicines. Attacks on medical personnel and facilities are frequently reported, often leading to suspension of services.?Violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including attacks against civilians, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearance, and torture, are widespread and committed by all parties to the conflict. As of July 2019, Libya counts over 655,000 migrants and refugees, who are particularly vulnerable to the violence.?
For more information on the humanitarian impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, please see the relevant paragraph below.
26/05/2020: Attacks on civilians and health infrastructure involving both warring parties continue to be reported. IEDs placed closed to civilian homes killed and injured inhabitants in the Ain Zara and Salahuddin areas of Tripoli over the Eid holiday. During combat in western coastal areas, lootings, robberies, desecration of corpses, and attacks against civilians were reported. The al-Furnaj IDP and migrant shelter in Tripoli was shelled again on 16 May -- seven people were killed and at least 17 others were injured. Hospitals, including those expected to treat COVID-19 patients, have been damaged by shelling and subject to incursions and gun violence between armed groups. At least 17 attacks on the Libyan health system were reported between January and mid-May 2020.?
26/05/2020: Libya’s Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) is facing disruption for the second year due to vaccine shortages. 250,000 children under the age of one are exposed to the risk of measles and polio infection. Children living in conflict-affected areas or areas where humanitarian access is limited, along with migrant, IDP and refugee minors are more at risk of missing one or more vaccination doses. Ongoing conflict, lengthy bureaucratic approval and COVID-19 restrictions are affecting the programme. ?
21/04/2020: On 6 April an armed group in the southern town of Shwerif cut the flow of a pipeline providing water to around 2 million people in Tripoli and surrounding areas. After negotiations, the pipeline was reopened on 12 April. In the same week western Libya went through recurrent electricity cuts. These cuts affected the Tripoli population, who are already facing conflict, displacement and a COVID-19 outbreak.?
26/03/2020: Despite international calls for ceasefire due to the COVID-19 outbreak, clashes and shelling in and around Tripoli continue. Southern neighbourhoods of the capital have been hit, including a prison, causing at least three civilian deaths and more injuries across 22-24 March. Libya has reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19. Current containment efforts are insufficient, as clashes impede a full-scale humanitarian response to the emerging outbreak.?
12/02/2020: Libyan National Army (LNA) forces have repeatedly denied permission to UN staff to land in Libya since January. This impacts both the humanitarian and peace-building activities of the UN mission in Libya at a time when clashes are still ongoing.?
06/02/2020: Following an intensification of hostilities between the LNA and the GNA in and around Tripoli, 1,600 people have been displaced between December and January, with 140,000 displaced since April 2019. The escalation has led to the closure of an additional 13 health facilities and 220 schools in Tripoli, disrupting education and health services. A fragile truce was announced starting on 12 January, but it has been repeatedly violated since then.?
For more information on the humanitarian impact of the conflict in Tripoli, please see the relevant paragraph below.
Very High constraints
Insecurity throughout the country continues to hamper access. The implementation of humanitarian activities remains unpredictable due to multiple factors including unexploded ordnance and improvised explosives contamination, threats of kidnapping of personnel, proliferation of armed groups with no clear chain of command, and periodic escalation of violence. Armed groups frequently target aid workers and health facilities. Access to detention centres remains very limited. Lack of a unified government perpetuates a volatile administrative environment regarding visas and other requirements to implement activities in Libya. Since April 2019, conflict has escalated in Tripoli, restricting humanitarian access to the capital. At the height of the escalation, civilians close to the frontline were unable to leave due to the fighting intensity. Humanitarian operations responding to the fighting in Murzuq, which intensified in August 2019, are hindered by increased insecurity, cut supply chains, and tribal affiliation of personnel.
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/
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.?
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.?
Libya has reported 61 confirmed cases and three deaths as of 1 May. Despite international calls for ceasefire due to the outbreak, clashes in western areas of the country continue. The health system has deteriorated after nine years of instability. Hospitals have been targeted in attacks, and are understaffed, including facilities chosen for the COVID-19 response. People living in overcrowded spaces, and those with pre-existing needs and potentially more difficult access to healthcare are of particular concern during the outbreak. Libya has an estimated 356,000 IDPs, 654,000 migrants, 48,600 registered refugees and asylum seekers, and detainees. Both the Tripoli and Tobruk governments have enforced a curfew and have closed gathering spaces including mosques and cafes. Ongoing clashes impede a full-scale humanitarian response to the emerging outbreak.?
Conflict in Tripoli
In April 2019 conflict between the LNA and the opposing GNA escalated after Khalifa Haftar, commander of the LNA, announced an offensive on Tripoli where the GNA is based. Fighting in and around the capital Tripoli is affecting 1.5 million people. ?Clashes between the LNA, the GNA and their respective allied forces have caused the displacement of more than 140,000 people and over 100 civilian deaths ?. Disproportionate and indiscriminate use of explosive weapons has raised grave protection concerns. Infrastructure, including water and power facilities, has been damaged. Severe movement restrictions have impacted civilian access to services, and humanitarian operations. ?
Neither parties appear to have taken significant territory since June 2019 when the GNA captured the LNA’s main base in Ghariyan. Although the conflict in Tripoli has stalemated, escalations in the southern parts of Tripoli continue to affect the safety and lives of civilians in the surrounding areas. As of December 2019, the frontlines include the Aziziyya area where the LNA launched a campaign in an attempt to isolate GNA forces in Ghariyan from support forces in southern Tripoli. The extensive involvement of international allies has been crucial to the dynamics of the conflict. International actors are intervening in Libya and supplying arms, including fighter jets and drones, to different parties of the conflict despite the UN arms embargo.?
Migrants and refugees in Tripoli have been particularly impacted by the conflict due to their vulnerable status. Detained migrants close to the frontline have been trapped, sometimes without access to basic supplies. ?LNA fighters have indiscriminately shot at detained migrants.?There are reports that armed groups running detention centres are recruiting migrants to support militias aligned with the GNA by moving and loading weapons, cleaning cars impacted by violence, and taking part in the fighting. ?On the night of 2 July, two airstrikes hit Tajoura detention centre in the outskirts of Tripoli, killing 53 people, including six children, and wounding 130 more.?
Protection 490,000 people are exposed to physical harm and human rights violations. Migrants are particularly exposed to violence by Libyan security forces, militias, smuggling networks and criminal gangs. Several cities which had been previously cleared of UXOs (unexploded ordnances) have now been re-contaminated. The estimated 20 million units of ordnance in the country threaten civilians’ daily life. ?
Health Libya is struggling with an overstretched and underdeveloped healthcare system. Healthcare facilities are unable to provide sufficient care to the 554,000 people in the whole of Libya in critical need of healthcare assistance because of the poor quality of services, low capacity of the workforce and shortages of essential drugs and supplies. ?
Tensions in south Libya
The oil-rich south of Libya is home to smuggling groups and militias, and ethnic and tribal fighting is commonplace. Intensification of fighting since the start of 2019 has been taking place amid growing insecurity in the region and a widespread shutdown of public services. ?
Tensions in Murzuq district increased after the LNA took control of the Fezzan region in February-March 2019, shifting the power balance in an area previously dominated by the Tebu tribe. Although alliances in Libya are fluid, the Alahali tribe is generally considered to be allied to the LNA, while the Tebu tribe has been receiving support from the opposing GNA. LNA control put the Alahali in a stronger position relative to the Tebu. However, the relocation of LNA troops following the launch of an offensive on Tripoli in April left a power vacuum in the south, sparking violence between the two communities. ?
In August, tensions in southern Fezzan escalated and a series of violent clashes in Murzuq resulted in the displacement of more than 26,000 people as of late September. Waves of airstrikes launched by LNA-allied forces hit civilian targets, including an IDP shelter. The violence destroyed infrastructure, disrupted markets, and hindered humanitarian access. The affected population reported multiple needs including shelter, health and food. Fighting has killed over 100 people and injured hundreds more. On 1 December, a drone strike killed nine children and two women in Murzuq.?