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Coronavirus: UNHCR Update On Libya

On 15 June, UNHCR and WFP launched a joint programme to provide emergency food aid to refugees and asylum-seekers living in the urban community in Tripoli. The project aims to scale up to reach 10,000 individuals this year. The partnership was launched in recognition of the severe socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in Libya as well as the effects of the ongoing conflict.

As World Refugee Day (20 June) draws near, UNHCR held several days of art workshops at a shelter in Misrata for 44 residents, including 15 children. The shelter houses persons of concern awaiting resettlement to third countries.

UNHCR continues to provide assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Libya. On 14 June, UNHCR’s partner, LibAid distributed mattresses, blankets, kitchen sets, clothes, male and female hygiene kits, and soap to 164 IDPs (27 families) at Alabyar City (60 km east of Benghazi). On 16/17 June, at Ajdabiya City (160 km south of Benghazi) LibAid, in cooperation with the Libyan Scouts, distributed CRIs and clothes to 119 IDP families (643 individuals).

Population movement

As of 18 June, 4,551 refugees and migrants have been registered as rescued/intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard and disembarked in Libya. On 17 June, two disembarkation operations took place where 320 individuals were returned to Tripoli. UNHCR and its partner, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), were present at the disembarkation point to provide urgent medical assistance and core relief items (CRIs) before individuals are transferred to detention centres by the Libyan authorities.

UNHCR response

Provision of CRIs and cash assistance is ongoing at the Community Day Centre (CDC) in Tripoli. In the previous week, UNHCR through its partner CESVI distributed CRIs to 70 refugees and asylum-seekers living in the urban community.

Cash assistance was also provided to 287 individuals with 185 receiving regular cash assistance and 102 taking one-time emergency cash assistance. The CDC has consistently remained opened throughout the COVID-19 period, adapting to curfew movement restrictions in place. Opening hours are currently from 0900 to 1630 with access regulated by appointments to respect the social-distancing measures imposed by the authorities to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In the reporting period, UNHCR registered 182 individuals at the Serraj Registration Office. The newly registered refugees and asylum-seekers were provided with UNHCR certificates. Nationalities included Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia. Another 125 individuals had their files updated on contact details and family status. Additionally, some 40 refugees and asylum-seekers who were recently released from Al Zawiya (45 km west of Tripoli) detention centre approached the office and were provided with CRIs.

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