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Derna Rapid Situation Overview, 1 June 2018


Since July 2017, the eastern Libyan city of Derna has been subject to tight military encirclement. The closure of access points has made it difficult to supply markets, banks and health facilities, which has led to a deteriorating humanitarian situation for those remaining in the city. On 15 May 2018, the conflict in and around Derna escalated sharply, with rapid advances of the frontline, heavy armed group activity and unprecedented levels of shelling. As of 30 May, according to OCHA estimates, roughly 600-1,300 households had been displaced from outlying mahallas into central Derna city. To inform humanitarian response plans regarding the situation in Derna, REACH conducted a rapid assessment on behalf of the Libya Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) to provide a snapshot of the needs of displaced and non-displaced populations in the city.


Between 27 and 30 May, with data collection support from Ofoq, REACH assessed the humanitarian situation in 11 of the 12 mahallas of Derna city. Data was collected through 32 multi-sector key informant (KI) interviews, 23 of them face-to-face and 9 remote, conducted with community leaders, NGO staff, medical professionals and others. The information in this situation overview should be considered indicative only.

Key findings: 

The tightening encirclement of Derna accelerated displacement into the core of the city, especially the central mahallas of El-Bilad, Dheil el-Wadi, El-Jebilah, Al-Maghar, Esh-Shabiya and Bab Tubraq. Most of the displaced came from the city’s outlying mahallas, all of which had experienced shelling and/or clashes in close proximity.
On 31 May, authorities announced that the formal entry and exit point at Karsa would be opening from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to allow families to enter and exit. Prior to this, the entry and exit points on the roads to Karsa and Martuba had both been open to civilians only sporadically.
Also on 31 May, electricity was restored to all mahallas of Derna following repairs to the city’s main power plant. Previously, following several circuit failures, much of the city had experienced a two-day power cut.
On 29 May, Derna’s main water desalination plant, located near the Karsah gate, suspended operations due to nearby clashes and insecurity affecting its staff. As a result, the main water network largely stopped functioning throughout the city, except in Sheiha, where the network was fed partly by wells.
Only one hospital in the city of Derna, Al-Wahda in Bab Tubraq, continued to function. Since 20 May, however, the hospital had been admitting only urgent cases due to severe shortages of generator fuel and medical supplies, particularly oxygen tanks.
KIs in every assessed mahalla except Bab Tubraq and Dheil el-Wadi reported that local residents were unable to access food consistently.
Cooking fuel and vehicle fuel were almost completely unavailable in Derna. KIs also reported widespread shortages of fresh vegetables, fruits, milk, flour, tomato paste and many types of meat.
Derna’s volunteer-driven trash collection services were unable to keep up with the city’s needs. KIs reported that trash was collecting in the streets so quickly that it had to be burned to prevent road closures.
Explosive remnants of war (ERW) were reported in all assessed mahallas, and landmines were reported along the main roads leading out of Derna. KIs in all assessed mahallas reported injuries or casualties attributable to explosive hazards.

Sample size: 
Assessment Report: 
Publicly Available
Assessment Questionnaire: 
Available on Request
Contact with requests.
Assessment Data: 
Available on Request
Contact with requests.
Assessment Date(s): 
27 May 2018 to 30 May 2018
Report completed
Unit(s) of Measurement: 
Collection Method(s): 
Key Informant Interview
Population Type(s): 
All affected population
Leading/Coordinating Organization(s): 
REACH Initiative