Libya

Situation Report

Highlights

  • Attacks on water infrastructure put in jeopardy safe water supply for 4 million people.
  • Libya enters third COVID-19 wave as vaccination strategy shifts.
  • Climate change threatens Libya’s economic development and sustainability.
  • Humanitarian access continues positive trend.
  • New: Key Events: highlighting coordination meetings, assessment missions and inter-agency training.
A farm in southern Tripoli suffering from water shortages due to receding water levels and poor rainfall last winter (OCHA/ Ahmed Rih)
A farm in southern Tripoli suffering from water shortages due to receding water levels and poor rainfall last winter (OCHA/ Ahmed Rih)

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Libya

Situation Report

Key Figures

1.3M
People in need
0.5M
People targeted
212k
People displaced in Libya
598k
Migrants and refugees in Libya
408k
People reached

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Libya

Situation Report

Funding

$189.1M
Required
$93.5M
Received
49%
Progress
FTS

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Contacts

Justin Brady

Head of Office

Jennifer Bose Ratka

Public Information Officer

Libya

Situation Report
Analysis

Attacks on water infrastructure put in jeopardy safe water supply for 4 million people

On 24 July, a major leak in the water transmission line in Tazerbo, Benghazi, resulted in the loss of large volumes of water and disruption of service to an estimated 1.5 million, mainly in Benghazi, Ajdabia, Albrega, Sirt and Alabyar. During the month of July, one of the wells along the Man-Made River, Al-Hasawna, Al-Jafara Water System in the western and southern field was destroyed by criminal elements and rendered out of service. The well had a high daily production capacity of over 5000 cubic meters of water, enough to meet the needs of 70,000 of people. Continuous attacks on the main water structures, combined with increasing demands on infection prevention and control due to the pandemic, as well as the deterioration of  the WASH infrastructure, poses a number of challenges on the sector in ensuring the delivery of safe water supply and proper waste management systems. According to UNICEF, over four million people, including 1.5 million children will face imminent water problems, leading to a significant decline in services if immediate solutions are not found.

In Libya, approximately, 90 per cent of the population receive their water supply from three key sources: Man-Made River Project (MMRP), providing 60% of the water supply; General Company of Water and Waste Management (well water network); and Desalination Plants (8 plants in total, operating at minimum capacity due to deterioration). An additional 10 per cent rely on borehole drilling.  The WASH sector, led by UNICEF, currently works with a number of implementing partners: IOM, Migrace, LSO, DRC, UNHCR and ACF, through nine projects in the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan, targeting 263,000 people, including IDPs, refugees, hosting communities, returnees, and migrants.

To meet the most urgent demands, the sector has been prioritizing the resumption of basic services and the primary rehabilitation of water facilities, including for displaced populations that have returned to their places of origin. However, the poor funding situation, combined with electricity cuts and limited sectoral capacity, have placed further constraints on the sector. So far, the WASH sector is only 31 per cent funded, and with limited prioritization for WASH activities by national counterparts and the lack of technical expertise at the national level, the ability to respond to rising demand is challenging. In June, a mission to Tawergha, where families are already returning due to forced evictions in Tripoli and elsewhere, identified immediate WASH needs, such as water tanks, generators, and water pumps, for schools, health facilities and collective centres. In the South, the dilapidated sanitation system and sewage networks are badly damaged, with municipal leaders requesting support on proper waste management to avoid contamination of the drinking water supply. Additionally, most of the wastewater, some 85 per cent, is discharged directly into the sea without treatment, negatively impacting the environment and marine life.

Despite these numerous challenges, the WASH sector, working in collaboration with local and international partners, have ensured emergency rehabilitation of WASH facilities in schools, health centres, collective shelters hosting IDPs as well as detention centres for migrants. With targeted messaging, information on infection prevention as well as hygiene materials have reached vulnerable communities. The sector is also supporting national authorities for the procurement of urgently needed water pumps and WASH materials. However, additional funding support is urgently needed and advocacy at a higher level to ensure that basic rehabilitation programmes can continue without the risk of indiscriminate attacks on the water infrastructure.

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Libya

Situation Report
Visual

Alal Health care facility (left) and shared shower rooms at collective IDP shelter (right) in Tawergha

Alal Health care facility and collective IDP shelter, shared shower rooms, Tawergha (WASH sector/Migrace)

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Libya

Situation Report
Analysis

Libya Enters Third COVID-19 Wave as vaccination strategy shifts

The COVID-19 situation further deteriorated across Libya demonstrating a sharp increase by 660 per cent from June in the number of confirmed cases, whereby the Ministry of Health declared a public health state of emergency as the country entered the third wave of the pandemic. A series of stringent restrictions were imposed across Libya, including a nightly curfew from 6pm to 6am, the suspension of all schools and universities, closure of borders, as well as the closing of summer resorts, parks, and public gardens. As of end July, there were a total 253,436 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 57,704 active cases and a total of 3,548 deaths since the pandemic began. Compared to June, there was a 95% increase in overall national testing: by regions, West (93% increase), South (197% increase) and East (83% increase), with 96.9% (175,794) of national testing performed in the West as compared to both East (only 2,116 tests) and South (only 3,567 tests) regions. The national positivity rate for July was 32.8%, mainly representative of the West due to higher testing rates in the region.

Libya continues to struggle to respond effectively to the pandemic, with isolation centres and case management facilities overwhelmed and facing shortages in medical personnel and supplies, such as oxygen masks, oxygen tanks, antibiotics, medicine, and N95 masks. The Government of Egypt has provided Libya with an extra supply of oxygen, donating 100,000 litres of much-needed oxygen supply.

As of the 25 July, Libya’s in-country stock of vaccines stands at over 1.3 million doses, with an additional 1.1 million doses expected to arrive between August and November through the COVAX facility. As of end July, 693,676 people have already received their first dose of the vaccine. The International Organization for Migration successfully conducted 98 outreach campaigns/ awareness raising sessions for 3,150 migrants/refugees, while advocacy campaigns by NCDC and UN partners are encouraging more people to get vaccinated. On 24 July, the Ministry of Health suspended the mandatory online registration for vaccination, thus facilitating easier access for the population. Prior to needing e-registration, by end June, some 925,842, including 5,120 non-Libyans were registered for the vaccine.

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Libya

Situation Report
Visual

COVID-19 cases, deaths, and lab tests for July by region (WHO)

COVID-19 cases, deaths, and lab tests for July by region (WHO)

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Libya

Situation Report
Analysis
Sand dunes in the Libyan desert town of Ghadames (OCHA/Jennifer Bose Ratka)
Sand dunes in the Libyan desert town of Ghadames (OCHA/Jennifer Bose Ratka)

Climate change threatens Libya’s economic development and sustainability

Libya is one of the driest countries in the world, where the demand for water is far greater than its renewable supply. Projected temperature increases as well as rise in sea levels and increased incidence of extreme weather events has sparked concerns of depleting water resources, threats to coastal communities and reduced agricultural productivity increasing food insecurity. The Great Man-Made River project, which provides 60 per cent of all freshwater used in Libya, uses water from non-renewable aquifers that cannot be recharged by rain. Additionally, UNICEF warns that repeated assailants attacks on the River’s main systems threatens the water security of the entire country and puts millions of lives at immediate risk of losing access to safe water. As Libya’s stifling summer heat hits residents, amidst acute power cuts and COVID-19 spreading fast, continuous damage of the water system further jeopardizes people’s health and hygiene levels and increases the risk of epidemics and spread of communicable diseases.

According to the World Bank, Libya’s modest agriculture production relies heavily on irrigation, but limited renewable water resources, coupled with harsh climatic conditions and poor soil, severely limit production. Low agricultural yields force the country to import about 75 per cent of the food required to meet local needs. Libya is 95 per cent desert, mostly barren with flat to undulating plains. This, combined with the Mediterranean climate, renders many parts of the country susceptible to floods, sandstorms, dust storms, and desertification. Climate change poses a significant threat to Libya’s economic development and sustainability, and climate variability is likely to increase the impacts of natural hazards on agriculture production.  With more than 70 per cent of the population living in cities along the coast, rising sea levels pose an existential danger.

Climate change is today’s reality affecting communities all over the world, but people living in fragile circumstances such as in Libya feel the effects most severely. The combination of climate change and conflict further exacerbates inequalities and pushes people out of their homes, disrupts food production and supplies, amplifies diseases and malnutrition, and weakens health-care services.

For this year’s World Humanitarian Day (19 August), OCHA staged #TheHumanRace – a global challenge for climate action in solidarity with people who need it the most to put the needs of climate-vulnerable people front and centre at the UN climate summit (COP26) in November.

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Libya

Situation Report
Access

Humanitarian access continues positive trend

The total number of access constraints reported by humanitarian partners through the Access Monitoring and Reporting Framework (AMRF) during July 2021 was 153, marking a 9 per cent decrease in comparison with June. The vast majority (66 per cent) of reported access challenges are related to bureaucratic impediments on movement of humanitarian personnel and relief supplies into and within Libya. In the absence of long-term solutions for the issue of visas for their international staff, humanitarian partners continue to encounter difficulties implementing their humanitarian activities. The national authorities must introduce clear and consistent guidelines for both visa processes and registration of humanitarian organizations in Libya.

Limited operational presence by humanitarians was linked to 20 per cent of the reported access constraints. The disparities in humanitarian response levels across the different geographic areas in Libya is partly attributed to this issue. Additionally, five incidents (3 per cent of the total access constraints) involving interreferences in the implementation of humanitarian activities were reported by humanitarian partners while 6 per cent had a direct relation with the physical environment (terrain, condition of roads, poor infrastructure, etc).

Out of the total reported access constraints in July, 66 constraints had a direct impact on humanitarian sector activities. The most two impacted sectors were Protection and Mine Action with a percentage of 39% and 26% respectively. Health was the third most impacted sector for the first time since the launching of AMRF. In a new trend that has been continuous since February 2021, the least number of access constraints (22 per cent) were reported in mantikas of the East region followed by mantikas in the South and West with 33% and 45% of all reported constraints respectively. Tripoli and Sebha together made up more than a third (38 per cent) of the total reported constraints.

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Libya

Situation Report
Visual

Access constraints related to lack of operational presence by humanitarian partners in 2021 (OCHA)

Access constraints related to lack of operational presence by humanitarian partners in 2021

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Libya

Situation Report
Coordination

Key Events: July – August 2021

A compilation of humanitarian coordination meetings, assessment missions and training.

  • Highlights include: Between July and August, a total of 13 different coordination meetings were completed. These include: ISCG meeting with the mayor of Hay al-Andalus on 28 July; Meeting between the Sirte Medical Office and WHO on 10 August; Joint OCHA/IOM meeting with the mayor of Benghazi on 4 August to discuss the humanitarian situation; and the National ACG South Meeting on 28 July.

  • A total of 3 missions were planned during this period, with one ongoing: field security assessment to Alkufra; while the 2 missions to Zwara and Alwahhat Area are in the pipeline awaiting clearances.

  • Training: The OCHA/IOM Protection in Humanitarian Coordination Training completed in the East and West regions (3 sessions in total). The 4th phase of the training is planned for end August in the East region. 

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Libya

Situation Report
Visual

Overview of OCHA's activities for July and August 2021

Overview of OCHA's activities for July and August 2021

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