REACH Initiative

On 26 August 2018, clashes broke out between rival armed groups in southern Tripoli, particularly in Salaheddin, Ain Zara, Mashroua Al Hadhba, and points south.



In nearly every assessed mahalla with recently displaced IDPs, an estimated 75-100% of those who had arrived since 26 August were being hosted by friends and family. Exceptions included the baladiya of Hai Alandalus, where KIs reported a greater reliance on owned and rented accommodations, and Al-Hamidiyah in Tajoura.

Recently arrived refugees and migrants in assessed mahallas were equally reliant on rented accommodations and on being hosted by others in their communities. These two options reportedly accounted for 60-100% of the newly arrived in most assessed mahallas.

Those refugees and migrants arriving in Abusliem and Tajoura baladiyas were in a more precarious situation; in 6 of the 8 assessed mahallas in these two baladiyas, an estimated 30-50% were living in collective shelters, informal settlements, abandoned houses, unfinished buildings, and other similar situations.

Collective shelters for IDPs were reportedly concentrated in Tajoura baladiya, as well as in Al-Mansura mahalla (Tripoli Centre) and the conflict-affected mahallas of Abusliem Al Janubi, Ain Zara, and Mashroua Al Hadhba. In four mahallas—Al Hamidiyah (Tajoura), Al Wadi Asharki (Tajoura), Al Mansura (Tripoli Centre), and Abusliem Al Janubi (Abusliem)—KIs estimated that 10-20% of the recently displaced population was being housed in collective shelters.

KIs identified at least five schools in these mahallas where IDPs were staying, housing at least 360 IDP individuals and possibly more. The top reported need for these IDPs was for bedding items, followed by food, drinking water, and cooking NFIs.

A minimum of 60 additional IDP individuals in Ain Zara, Al Hamidiyah (Tajoura), and Al Wadi Asharki (Tajoura) were living in other ad hoc collective shelters, including hotels and commercial buildings. Food and sanitation were the top reported needs in these ad hoc shelters; local authorities had been able to fill some, but not all, of the stated needs.

KIs in 12 assessed mahallas, as well as in the Al Fallah 2 camp for Tawerghan IDPs, reported that shelters in their mahallas had been recently damaged since 26 August. For the most part, however, this damage was estimated to be relatively light—fewer than 10 shelters per mahalla—and could likely be attributed to the sporadic shelling affecting much of the city.

Kis near the frontlines in Mashroua Al Hadhba and Salaheddin, however, reported more extensive damage on the order of 50-250 shelters in each mahalla.


Recent damage to the water network was reported in all assessed baladiyas. Disruptions to Ain Zara’s water supply were reported in early September, but by the time of data collection, KIs reported that the network was again functioning.

Disruptions to the electrical grid had become much more frequent, with daily power cuts lasting for long periods of time. Official sources from the General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) stated that the grid had been damaged by conflict and was close to collapse, which had led to multiple blackouts affecting most of west and south Libya.


KIs reported an increase in crime throughout the city of Tripoli as a direct consequence of insecurity. In 10 mahallas affected by the clashes, the risks of robbery and killings had reportedly increased, especially in Ain Zara, Mashroua Al Hadhba, Al Wadi Al Gharbi, and the Tawerghan camps.

Refugees and migrants were also reported to face heightened risks of robbery and detention, particularly in Abusliem Al Janubi and parts of the baladiyas of Hai Alandalus and Tajoura.

Additionally, refugees and migrants in 11 assessed mahallas were reportedly not free to leave their accommodation and move to other parts of the city.

KIs explained that migrants stayed home due to the fighting and a fear of being arrested and kidnapped (see “Freedom of Movement”). However, KIs considered Hai Andalus, Suq Aljumaa, Tripoli Centre and Tajoura to be relatively safe areas of the city for refugees and migrants.

On 2 September, around 400 prisoners escaped from the Ain Zara prison after forcing open the gates. 8 Most of the former prisoners dispersed throughout the city.

A minimum of 60 additional IDP individuals in Ain Zara, Al Hamidiyah (Tajoura), and Al Wadi Asharki (Tajoura) were living in other ad hoc collective shelters, including hotels and Mercy Corps, Libya Humanitarian Access Team: Tripoli Situation Report, 19 Sep 2018.

Defense Post, Libya rival militias clash south of Tripoli, causing power outages, 18 Sep 2018.

Rami Musa (AP), Libyan police say 400 prisoners escape amid Tripoli clashes, 3 Sep 2018.


Among both IDP and refugee/migrant populations, KIs reported that across Tripoli, the most needed health service was treatment for chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood

pressure, heart and kidney problems, and the like. Refugees and migrants were also reported to lack access to common antibiotics.

Access to healthcare was reported to be intermittent in Ain Zara, Mashroua Al Hadhba, and Salaheddin, with service provision dependent on the intensity of fighting. Gaps in access

to emergency care were additionally reported in Mashroua Al Hadhba, Salaheddin, and parts of Tajoura and Suq Aljumaa, as well as in the Parking Area camp for Tawerghan IDPs.

Public and private health facilities had closed due to insecurity throughout the area of heaviest conflict, particularly in Ain Zara, Mashroua Al Hadhba, and Salaheddin, though most facilities remained undamaged. The Abusliem Health Complex and facilities in the Al Fallah camp were also reportedly affected by conflict.

Pharmacies had also reportedly closed, some temporarily and others for longer periods, leading to shortages of many medicines in Ain Zara, Mashroua Al Hadhba, and Salaheddin.

KIs in Abusliem Al Janubi and the Tawerghan camps at Al Fallah, as well as throughout Tajoura baladiya, reported shortages of medicines used to treat chronic disease. Access to medicine in affected areas was further complicated by the high proportions of Libyans and refugees/migrants in these mahallas who were sheltering in place and unable to travel outside their immediate areas.

Roadblocks remain a major challenge to accessing healthcare facilities, as well as to ambulances trying to deliver assistance to those in need. Additionally, relief teams and paramedics in Tripoli have been targeted by attacks, with ambulances looted for emergency medical supplies, further hindering access to injured civilians.

Food Security

In most parts of Tripoli, IDPs displaced since 26 August were reported to have consistent access to food. However, the situation in Ain Zara, Mashroua Al Hadhba, and Salaheddin was more precarious, with very low levels of own production and markets inaccessible to some residents who were sheltering in place.

Access to food was also less consistent among refugee and migrant populations, particularly in Abusliem Al Janubi, Ain Zara, Al Hay Assinayi, and several mahallas throughout Tajoura baladiya.

In cases where food could not be purchased from markets, IDP households relied primarily on emergency food stores, with smaller numbers of KIs reporting a dependence on gifts from family and friends.

While refugees and migrants also relied heavily on these two coping mechanisms, it was reportedly more common for them to borrow food from neighbours or others in their communities.

Cash, Markets, and Livelihoods

All assessed mahallas had functioning markets. However, a majority of KIs in 5 mahallas (Ain Zara, Mashroua Al Hadhba, Salaheddin, Al Wadi Al Gharbi, and Al Minshiyah), as well as in Suq Aljumaa baladiya, reported that recently displaced IDPs were unable to consistently access these markets.

The same was true for refugees and migrants in Abusliem Al Janubi, Ain Zara, Al Wadi Al Gharbi, Ghut Ashaal, Al Hamidiyah, and Al Mashay mahallas.

Generalised insecurity and temporary market closures in times of conflict were the most commonly cited barriers preventing IDPs from accessing markets, followed by physical constraints preventing travel (which include roadblocks and checkpoints).

The barriers faced by recently displaced IDPs and by refugees-migrants were similar, though migrants were reportedly more affected by physical constraints due to the perceived risk of being detained.

Six of the 13 basic market items assessed have reportedly become more expensive since 26 August. More specifically, eggs, chicken, lamb meat, flour, cooking oil, and cooking fuel (LPG) were reported to have increased in price in over half of assessed mahallas.

According to KIs, though, prices in conflict-affected mahallas can best be interpreted as erratic; during active clashes, many traders stop operating and prices increase rapidly, only to decrease again when the clashes subside.

KIs in nearly all assessed mahallas reported that both IDPs and refugees/migrants faced difficulty accessing basic items on the market, most often because prices were too high to afford. The only essential item reported to be inaccessible was bread, a result of increased prices stemming from Tripoli’s ongoing shortage of subsidised wheat flour.

In every assessed mahalla, cash was reported to be the most common payment modality, as is the case throughout Libya.

Since the outbreak of clashes on 26 August, refugees and migrants have reportedly found it far more difficult to engage in income-generating activities.

KIs attributed this primarily to an inability to move safely throughout Tripoli, a concern that has become acute in the context of refugees and migrants being forcibly seized from their places of work.

According to KIs, recently displaced people from both the IDP and refugee/migrant populations relied primarily on their savings to meet their basic needs. IDPs were additionally able to rely on borrowed money and in-kind support from friends and family; refugees and migrants had less access to these two coping mechanisms.

Rami Musa (AP), Libyan police say 400 prisoners escape amid Tripoli clashes, 3 Sep 2018.

Ahmed Elumami and Ayman al-Warfalli, Bread price hike sharpens economic pain for Libyans, 12 Jul 2018.

Priority Needs and Assistance IDPs Refugees and migrants

Across all assessed mahallas, the top reported need for recently displaced IDPs was cash, followed by safety/security and food. KIs also cited electricity, access to healthcare, and access to water as areas of significant need.

KIs reported that refugees and migrants’ most essential need was cash, followed by food (particularly bread and flour) and shelter. Safety/security, access to water, and access to healthcare were also cited as important needs.

KIs in most assessed mahallas reported that Libyans in their mahallas had received some assistance since 26 August, with the exception of those in Shari Azzawiyah, Arada and Fuz Znatah.

This assistance has mainly come from community members and international organisations, which have mainly provided food, water, medicine, and non-food items such as blankets.

As refugees and migrants were infrequent targets for aid from Libyan sources, it was reportedly rarer for displaced refugees and migrants to have received aid since 26 August. Aid was reportedly only received in five assessed mahallas, mainly in Hai Alandalus baladiya, and came predominantly from international organisations.

In most mahallas, targeted populations were reported to have a strong preference for cash-based interventions. The only exceptions were in Al Fallah 2 camp, where residents reportedly preferred food aid, and Shari Azzawiyah, where other types of in-kind aid were preferred.

Like recently displaced IDPs, refugees and migrants in nearly all assessed mahallas reportedly preferred to receive cash assistance, except in Bab Ben Ghasher and Al Hay Assinayi, where food aid was preferred.


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