Jobs, food, climate change: What drives migrants toward Libya?

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They leave because they lack an adequate income. They leave because they’re looking for better educational opportunities, because of the security situation at home, because there’s no food, and because of environmental and climate shocks.

That’s according to a survey of 4,195 migrants in Libya released by IOM, the United Nations International Organization for Migration, and partner agency the World Food Program. The overwhelming majority of migrants came from neighboring African nations, including Algeria, Egypt, Niger, Chad and Sudan.

“Inability to meet food needs was reported by 18 percent of respondents. Interestingly, 14 percent reported education for children as one of their top two reasons for leaving their country of origin,” the report said. “As most of them are not living with children in Libya, this indicates that they may be supporting the education of children in their home countries.” Many work in construction or agriculture, with Chadian migrants notably represented among the latter.

Forty-one percent said they felt they had no choice but to leave their home countries, with East and West Africans seeing a higher proportion of their migrants believing that they were compelled to leave. The East African migrants also reported higher levels of food insecurity.

“Water scarcity and/or land degradation was among the drivers which were reported more often by those who arrived within the last year and half compared to others,” the report said. “In many cases, climate change and environmental degradation contribute to increased migration.”

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The complete report, with its eye toward food security among many migration drivers, is available at this link.

Image: FAO file

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