During the month of July, IOM Libya recorded an increase in departures from Libyan shores compared to the same month last year. A total of 16 Search and Rescue operations were carried out by the Libyan Coast Guard and 1,143 migrants were returned to detention.
“Based on the current trends, it is highly probable that departures will continue in the months to come amidst a concerning and deteriorating humanitarian situation and an increase in COVID-19 positive cases in the country. IOM teams are working without respite to offer assistance to those who are most in need and provide lifesaving assistance to vulnerable migrants and displaced people. However, more needs to be done to address this deteriorating situation.” said Federico Soda, Chief of Mission.
IOM has repeatedly reported that Libya is not a safe port. As migrants risk their lives to flee Libya, a parallel crisis is unfolding – the displacement of Libyan people. While the challenges are different, the fates of migrants and internally displaced persons sometimes coincide, as IOM records Libyans boarding unseaworthy sea vessels to attempt the Mediterranean crossing.
According to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix, there are now over 425,000 internally displaced persons across Libya, including those previously displaced who are unable to return to their homes due to insecurity, and those displaced from Murzuq in Southern Libya due to armed clashes in 2019.
“Newly displaced populations have been forced to leave their homes in the conflict affected areas of Tripoli, Tarhuna and Sirt, to seek protection and shelter in the safer neighbourhoods of Tripoli, other coastal cities of western Libya, and in several municipalities in the east as well. Since early June 2020 several areas in the western region have seen changes in territory control signaling a possibility for the return of displaced people. However, this return is hindered by the widespread presence of unexploded ordinances (UXOs), explosive remnants of war (ERW), and antipersonnel landmines, particularly in Ain Zara, Mashrouh Hadba, and Salah Addin in southern Tripoli.” Federico Soda concluded.