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Sabratha Rapid Situation Overview, 14 October 2017


Between 17 September and 6 October 2017, fighting between rival armed groups in the Libyan city of Sabratha led to the rapid displacement of 2,350 host community households (11,350 individuals) to surrounding cities and towns. Though active hostilities in Sabratha have subsided and many internally displaced persons (IDPs) have opted to return, the atmosphere remains tense, and others have chosen to remain temporarily in their areas of displacement as they assess the situation. To inform the humanitarian response in the cities and towns surrounding Sabratha, DRC, ACTED and REACH, under the auspices of the Rapid Response Mechanism in Libya (RRM), conducted a rapid assessment to provide a snapshot of the immediate needs of IDPs recently displaced from the city.


Between 4 and 11 October, with support from the Kafaa Development Foundation, the RRM collected data across 13 muhallas of Surman, Az-Zawya and Al-Ajaylat baladiyas, where significant numbers of IDPs from Sabratha had been displaced. Data was collected through 31 remote key informant (KI) interviews with civil society representatives, NGO staff, medical professionals and members of the IDP population. The information in this situation overview should be considered indicative only.

Key findings: 

At the time of data collection, KIs estimated that fewer than 10% of recently displaced IDPs remaining in Surman, Az-Zawya and Al-Ajaylat were expected to return to their homes within the week. Returns may have accelerated since the end of data collection.
Nearly all newly displaced IDPs were reported as either renting their own accommodation or being hosted by friends or family, though the estimated percentages of IDP households in each occupancy situation varied across assessed baladiyas.
IDPs reportedly had consistent access to both food and markets, with only a small number of KIs reporting that IDPs in their muhallas had difficulty accessing either.
Food items and most consumable NFIs were reported to be largely available in markets, though around one-quarter of KIs reported that food prices were too high for some households to afford. By contrast, non-consumable NFIs, in particular winter items such as clothing, blankets and heaters, were often reported to be either unavailable in markets or unaffordable for the typical IDP household.
According to KIs, IDP households in Surman, Az-Zawya and Al-Ajaylat rarely brought cash with them from Sabratha, though those displaced to Surman were both more likely to have done so. Access to cash in assessed baladiyas had reportedly decreased significantly since the start of displacement from Sabratha.
Medical facilities remained both operational and accessible across all assessed muhallas. Treatment for chronic diseases, emergency care and care during childbirth were cited as the top three priority medical services needed by IDPs; KIs also reported concerns about the availability and affordability of medicine.
At the time of data collection, respondents were not aware of any form of NGO assistance received across the assessed baladiyas, though they indicated that organised neighbourhood groups had been active in providing food aid.
The top priority needs for recently displaced IDPs in Surman, Az-Zawya and Al-Ajaylat, as reported by KIs, were 1) safety and security; 2) access to healthcare, and to medicine in particular; and 3) access to cash, generally to purchase food. In general, KIs reported a strong preference for cash-based interventions over other types of aid.

Sample size: 
Assessment Report: 
Publicly Available
Assessment Questionnaire: 
Available on Request
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Assessment Data: 
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Assessment Date(s): 
04 Oct 2017 to 11 Oct 2017
Report completed
Unit(s) of Measurement: 
Collection Method(s): 
Key Informant Interview
Population Type(s): 
All affected population
Leading/Coordinating Organization(s): 
REACH Initiative
Participating Organization(s): 
Danish Refugee Council