#KeepItOn during elections

Libya floods: people need reliable internet now

In the aftermath of the devastating floods in Libya, Access Now urgently calls on the Libyan authorities to guarantee unrestricted and full access to the internet, as well as safeguard the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people, both in Derna and across the country. 

After Libya’s devastating flood disaster, Derna, one of the cities hardest hit by the floods, experienced a significant communication blackout and internet shutdown, further exacerbating the disaster. This happened at a time where at least 11,300 individuals are reported dead and 43,000 others are displaced.

Internet access is a critical humanitarian need in times of crisis. Across Libya, the world is watching devastation, but within the country, the uncertainty and trauma must be palpable. People cannot confidently and consistently access information, contact family or friends, or share their voices — authorities must rectify this immediately. Marwa Fatafta, MENA Policy and Advocacy Manager at Access Now

Media reports indicated that communications were cut amidst large protests demanding answers about the catastrophic flood and the dams burst. Authorities also reportedly asked journalists to leave the city during these protests. The national Libyan Post Telecommunications & Information Technology Company (LPTIC) attributed this disruption to a cut to fiber optic cables, before subsequently announcing the restoration of services, on the same day. 

This year alone, we have witnessed the harmful consequences of losing access to the internet and other online services during times of crises in Turkey and Iraq. After any crisis, access to online platforms and services becomes more important than ever, serving as a lifeline for people searching for their loved ones or checking on their families. Kassem Mnejja, MENA Campaigner at Access Now.

Amidst the difficulty of verifying internet shutdowns, some reports indicate the internet is fully restored, while alarming allegations indicate that only a limited number of individuals have been granted a bypass by the military in the area, allowing them to connect to the internet during the internet blackout. 

Internet access is crucial during crises to save lives and facilitate rapid responses, making it even more imperative for Libyan authorities to #KeepItOn!