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UNHCR Update Libya (20 March 2020)

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Libya
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Organizational developments

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), and in line with guidance provided by Libyan Authorities, UNHCR Libya has temporarily halted its activities at its Sarraj Registration Centre area and at its Community Day Centre (CDC), both in Tripoli from 18 March to 24 March 2020. This is a precautionary measure to protect the health of persons of concern to UNHCR, staff, communities, and partners. UNHCR is working with partners to put in place mitigating measures that allow for continuity of essential services such as health, cash assistance, provision of psychosocial support, child protection, distribution of core relief items (CRIs) and emergency registration of most vulnerable cases. UNHCR is scaling up its outreach activities to asylum-seekers and refugees through refugee community leaders and communication with communities, through hotlines and social media. Material support in the form of CRIs is being provided to the authorities as part of the Inter-Agency response to the crisis coordinated by WHO.

Population movement

As of 20 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. On 15 March, a total of 109 individuals disembarked at the Tripoli Commercial Port. UNHCR and its partner, the International Rescue Committee, continue to provide medical assistance and CRIs at disembarkation points.

UNHCR response

Last week, UNHCR through its partner CESVI conducted four outreach visits to refugee and asylum-seekers families living in the urban community in Tripoli. Outreach visits allow UNHCR and its partners to follow up with refugee communities in Tripoli and understand their current protection and humanitarian needs as well as provide assistance. So far this year, UNHCR provided CRIs to 1,100 refugees and asylum-seekers living in the urban community in Tripoli. UNHCR’s hotlines continue to operate and respond to the queries of its persons of concern in Libya. More than 100 calls were received last week through Tripoli and Benghazi hotlines. Information on resettlement, registration and community assistance was provided along with counselling. As of 20 March, UNHCR through its partners have provided 2,327 medical consultations so far in 2020. These include 135 primary healthcare consultations at the disembarkation points, 783 in detention centres and 1,409 at the CDC. On 10 March, UNHCR through its partner, LibAid conducted a two-day distribution campaign targeting internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Tripoli. A total of 1,587 IDPs received CRIs including mattresses, quilts and kitchen sets. As of 20 March, UNHCR has provided assistance to more than 3,400 IDPs. UNHCR continues to provide cash assistance to refugees and asylum-seekers living in the urban community in Tripoli. Last week, UNHCR a total of 42 individuals (22 families) received cash grants at the CDC. To date this year, 1,051 refugee and asylum-seeker households have benefitted from cash assistance, and include: individuals transferred from the gathering and departure facility, urban refugees, and those released from detention centres. UNHCR registered 346 individuals at the Sarraj Registration Office in Tripoli. The nationalities included Sudan, Syria, Eritrea, Somalia, Palestine, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Iraq. The process of registration enables the early identification of vulnerable individuals with specific needs within a population and their referral to an available protection response.