Thursday, 12/12/2019 | 11:43 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

Hunger, displacement and migration – A joint innovative approach to assessing needs of migrants in Libya

Key highlights

In Libya, IOM and WFP conducted joint analysis combining face-to-face and web-based interviews. Methodologies used allowed to capture a varied sample of both female and male migrants from various age groups originating from 36 countries. Almost two-thirds of interviewed migrants originated from neighboring countries in Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa, including Algeria, Egypt, Niger, Chad and Sudan.

The strongest migration drivers identified among respondents were economic reasons, followed by insecurity, persecution and conflict, limited ability to meet food needs, environmental degradation and climate related shocks.

According to the web-based survey, six out of ten respondents expressed having had a choice to leave their country of origin, while four reported not having a choice but to leave based on their own perception.

Nearly half of interviewed migrants during face-to-face surveys reported being aware of potential risks of migration prior to departing from their countries of origin, such as robbery, detention or facing serious transportation accidents.

Nonetheless, nearly 80 percent reported not having put any measures in place to mitigate these serious risks during their journey.

The average cost of the journey to reach Libya was estimated at USD 700, indicating the need for a certain economic capacity to pay for the travel to Libya. Nearly 40 percent encountered a debt to finance partially or entirely migration related costs.

Results from face-to-face interviews identified that two-thirds of interviewed migrants were sending remittances to their home countries, with an average cash amount of USD 95 per month. The web-based interviews highlighted that the main use of remittances in countries of origin were to meet food needs (19%) and pay off debts (17%). Health and education related costs were also found to be important needs covered by remittances.

Main challenges faced by migrants in Libya are related to security and finding opportunities to make a living, closely followed by high food prices. The recent conflict and violence in Tripoli and surrounding governorates have raised much concern, also among host communities who reported insecurity/violence as one of their top concerns.

Over half of migrants reported to have been worried about not having enough food to eat. Results from face-to-face interviews, showed that a third of migrants were found to have poor and borderline food consumption, compared to 12 percent of Libyan citizens. Similarly, web-based surveys found that 33 percent of migrants and 12 percent of citizens reported having to compromise their food consumption by eating only one meal. Food coping strategies were adopted by 57 percent of migrants due to lack of food or means to buy food. Most concerningly, one in four migrants reported to have gone a whole day without eating in the past month.

Migrants who come from East African and South/Southeast Asian countries were found to be more vulnerable to food insecurity than other migrants. Unaccompanied minors are of particular concern. Moreover, those interviewed along migration routes in Central and Eastern Libya as well as those who arrived more recently also significantly showed more vulnerability to food insecurity.

Intentions to return home were reported by one quarter of respondents, which can be attributed to the desire to visit family but also to the challenging living conditions in Libya. The lack of income and the need to repay debts inquired to reach Libya in the first place were identified as critical factors impeding those who wish to return.

Attention must focus on ensuring migrants' safety in Libya, enhancing their capacities to support themselves to meet their food and other essential needs, and providing adequate support to those who wish to return to their home countries.

Comprehensive migration management policies, including labour migration programmes, are of critical importance.

Source: International Organization for Migration

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