More than seven years after civil unrest erupted in Libya during the Arab Spring in 2011, and some United Nations (UN) offices were forced to close, the evacuation status in Tripoli was lifted in February 2018 and agencies initiated re-entry into the North African country. The humanitarian footprint in Libya is expanding, with an international NGO (INGO) presence in many locations throughout the country, and most agencies in the process of establishing presence in Tripoli and elsewhere. However, humanitarian access remains challenging in the East and South of Libya. Increased presence on the ground and the establishment of sub-offices (such as in Benghazi and Sebha), are expected to enhance access to people in need.
To expand its presence in Libya, the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) will be setting up an office in Benghazi. The hub will be managed by World Food Programme (WFP) on behalf of the UNCT and the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) staff.
The World Food Programme (WFP), global lead of the ETC, was requested to lead the Emergency Telecommunications Sector (ETS) in Libya to provide vital communications services to coordinate the ICT response through the provision of shared connectivity and facilitation of security telecommunications services in common operational areas for the humanitarian community, collaborating with inter-sector initiatives to increase accountability towards affected communities.
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An ICT assessment mission and a needs assessment survey were conducted in late May 2018. Results showed that there is a need for reliable security communications and data connectivity to be established in at least one common operational hub, starting with Benghazi, but also to enhance current ICT services in Tripoli for humanitarian organizations currently operating in Libya and for those who plan to return.
Due to the security situation, security communications is critical. However, there is no radio communciations coverage in all common operational locations except in Tripoli. VHF equipment used by agencies is quite obsolete and UNSMIL, currently operating the network, has limited capacity to support the increase of staff returning in Libya.
Public electrical grid is not reliable with cuts experienced all day long. The ETS will have to include alternate power supplies to operate its equipment.