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UNHCR Update Libya (19 November 2021) [EN/AR]

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On 15 November, UNHCR resettled 71 refugees, including 37 children, who travelled from Tripoli to Canada, with the support of the International Organization for Migration for departure arrangements. The group included women and girls at risk, survivors of violence and/or torture, and persons with medical conditions or legal and/or physical protection needs. On the same day, a family of four also departed to Norway. Flights were on hold for most of the year due to a government decision but have resumed recently.

UNHCR continues to support internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees, asylum-seekers, refugees, and host communities through quick impact projects (QIPs) in Libya. On 18 November, UNHCR handed over a school bus to representatives of the cities of Awal and Dirj, located in the west of Libya. The school bus, with a capacity of 28 seats, will operate from the city of Awal, 50 km west of Dirj, and will provide daily transportation for schoolboys and girls who were intermittently attending school due to lack of transportation. On 14 and 16 November, UNHCR also handed over Abdullah Albaloug school in Suq Aljumaa, and Al Qurdabia school in Sebha, both rehabilitated through partner ACTED. Each school has hundreds of students, including internally displaced and other children of concern to UNHCR. On 18 November, UNHCR also handed over two primary health care centres in Suq Aljumaa, rehabilitated by partner INTERSOS.

Population Movements

So far in 2021, a total of 29,427 asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants have been reported as rescued or intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG). The last three disembarkations took place on 18 November with 302 survivors, including 50 women and 22 children, returned to Tripoli and Azzawya. UNHCR and medical partner, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) provided urgent aid and medical assistance at the disembarkation point. So far this year, 213 boats have been disembarked; 348 persons have been missing and 112 bodies have been recovered.

UNHCR Response

Activities at the Community Day Centre (CDC) in Tripoli remained suspended due to large number of people protesting outside, preventing vulnerable asylum-seekers and refugees from accessing services. UNHCR has been advised that the CDC can only re-open upon the authorization of the Ministry of Interior. UNHCR continued to provide assistance and services to asylum-seekers and refugees, especially those affected by the raids in October, in other locations of Tripoli. From 14 to 16 November, UNHCR, through partners Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and CESVI, distributed emergency cash assistance and gift cards to 365 asylum-seekers and refugees. On 18 November, partner International Rescue Committee distributed female hygiene kits to 20 asylum-seekers and refugees in the premise of a local charity organization. During the week, UNHCR also carried out two field visits together with partner CESVI to conduct protection screening and identify urgent needs requiring follow-up by UNHCR and partners. The demonstrations in front of UNHCR’s Serraj Office, hosting the registration and other processing activities, were also ongoing, resulting in sporadic disruptions of operations. On average, 150-200 asylum seekers were registered most days. To mitigate against potential disruptions, and with support by partners and other UN agencies, some protection activities including protection needs assessments have been conducted in alternative locations, allowing the continuation of UNHCR’s lifesaving activities and preparations for the upcoming evacuation and resettlement flights.

UNHCR, through partner NRC, distributed cash assistance to 90 internally displaced families from the Western region hosted in Benghazi. Two hundred other IDP families will receive cash assistance in the coming days. Cash assistance provides the flexibility for individuals to decide and address their needs including healthcare, medicines, rent and food.