Libya Country Report
Libya's governance is split between two rival governments, each backed by powerful militia coalitions. Political stability will continue to be undermined by rival armed groups seeking to control and monetise oil infrastructure and strategic assets. The country's severe fiscal deficit will jeopardise the payment of salaries to militias, thereby increasing the risk of violent crime and inter-militia fighting. Localised fighting is likely between militias every few weeks, especially in Tripoli, Sebha, and Benghazi. Islamic State militants are likely to target oil assets, commercial property, and hotels with improvised explosive devices (IEDs), especially in major urban areas.
Foreign companies entering Libya face severe risks to both personnel and property. The current insecurity and political uncertainty has compounded other significant domestic obstacles to investment such as non-tariff barriers – including the country's unwieldy and corrupt bureaucracy – extensive regulation, and a confusing legal system that discriminates against foreigners.
The dispersal of Islamic State militants from their base in Sirte compounds the already high risk to foreign personnel and assets, particularly in Tripoli and Misratah. Energy assets are vulnerable to attack by militias and militants competing for control, particularly in the western Sirte Basin. Foreign workers at energy sites are vulnerable to kidnap. The government has no effective security apparatus capable of securing foreign and state assets, even in the major cities of Tripoli and Benghazi.
Libya is embroiled in a civil war between militia coalitions loosely affiliated with two major competing poles of governance. Frequent fighting between armed groups using heavy weapons generates a high risk of collateral property damage and injury to personnel. Airports and seaports are military targets, and are at risk of attack from both ground and air. There is a specific threat to foreigners from Islamist militant groups in urban areas, particularly in the west of the country, and in the rural south. Intermittent fighting between rival militias in the capital Tripoli generates high risks to assets and individuals.
Protesters are vulnerable to being killed or injured by opposing armed groups or individuals. Libya's ruling class of militia warlords, tribal leaders, and local politicians have failed to bridge deep tribal, racial, and social divisions. This lack of reconciliation has exacerbated social and political divisions, usually along tribal lines, that greatly increases the risk of small-scale conflicts, while reducing the prospect of a viable long-term constitutional settlement that enjoys the support of all Libya's stakeholders.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for all individuals traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Meningococcal Meningitis: For prolonged stays, or in case your travels will put you in close contact with a local population affected by an epidemic of the disease (for children over the age of two years).
Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - chloroquine (sometimes marketed as Nivaquine).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Access to the country is very difficult given the heavy damage to its principal airports (e.g. Tripoli International Airport [TIP], which is currently undergoing reconstruction) during the past seven years of fighting. Many international airlines no longer operate flights to smaller airports in the country that are still active and Libyan airlines are banned from European Union airspace due to security concerns, limiting the routes into and out of Libya. Improvements are being made with domestic and international flights now operating from Benina International Airport (BEN) in Benghazi.
The primary point of access to Tripoli is via flights from Tunisia to the limited-capacity Mitiga Airport (MJI). However, fighting in the area has resulted in intermittent closures of the facility in recent months. The main roads linking coastal urban centers are frequently the site of clashes between militias jockeying for strategic positioning. Road checkpoints are common throughout the country. Links with the south remain tenuous at best given poor road connections. Travelers are advised that any essential travel between the north and south should take place only by air.
The climate in Libya varies significantly from north to south. Coastal regions enjoy a Mediterranean climate: hot (30°C) and dry summers and cool, rainy winters with temperatures falling as low as 8°C. Heading south slightly to the plains, the climate becomes semi-arid. Heading further south you reach the desert and its arid conditions. From late spring until early autumn a hot, dry, and dusty southerly wind sometimes blows north across the country all the way to the coastal cities.
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