WFP Food Distributions Inside Libya Gather Momentum

Published on 01 April 2011

CAIRO – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has delivered food to hungry people inside Libya at six different locations in the Beidan area, between Ajdabiya and Benghazi in the east of the country. Alongside its food assistance operation, WFP is providing logistics and telecommunications support to the humanitarian community working in Libya and neighbouring countries

  • WFP - in cooperation with its partner the Libyan Red Crescent (LRC) - has so far reached more than 7,000 people who have been displaced from Ajdabiya, with more than 62 metric tons of food - mainly wheat flour, lentils and fortified date bars. More than 20,000 people internally displaced from Ajdabiya will start to receive food assistance over the next few days.
  • WFP is working with the Red Crescent to provide food to 85,000 of the most vulnerable people over the next two weeks in Benghazi and surrounding areas. These are people who normally rely heavily on Libya’s public food distribution system, which is currently disrupted by the conflict.
  • WFP’s food distributions inside Libya started on 9 March with the distribution of over 17 metric tons of fortified date bars to more than 1,200 patients at hospitals in Ajdabiya in eastern Libya through the LRC.
  • WFP is concerned about access to food inside Libya, especially in areas heavily affected by the fighting - with reports of some food commodities doubling in price. Libya is a food deficit country heavily reliant on imports.  To feed a population of over 6.6 million, an estimated 110,000 metric tons of food monthly are required, of which at least 75 percent is imported.
  • The public food distribution system in Libya is under stress as food stocks in the country are being consumed without replenishment. The longer the conflict lasts, the more it becomes likely that the number of those in need of food assistance will increase dramatically.
  • WFP has prepositioned and mobilized more than 16,500 metric tons of food for the hungry inside Libya and in the wider region as part of a US$42 million emergency operation, designed to provide food assistance to more than one million people  in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia over a three-month period.
  • A convoy of three trucks, carrying food assistance as well as 5,000 blankets and 5,000 sleeping mattresses on behalf of the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), arrived in Benghazi on 27 March - the first since the implementation of the no-fly zone in Libya.
  • WFP has deployed experts at border crossings in Salloum, Egypt and in Ras Jedir, Tunisia to coordinate and strengthen logistics and telecommunications for the whole humanitarian community as part of Special Operations costing US$4 million.
  • WFP is helping provide over 16,000 hot meals daily to the 8,000 stranded people in Choucha camp with two full kitchens operational and the capacity to provide up to 25,000 meals daily. WFP is also providing an average of 1,250 hot meals daily at Djerba Airport in Tunisia in cooperation with the UK- based non-governmental organization, Muslim Hands. On the Egyptian side of the border, WFP has also been providing an average of more than 2,500 hot meals daily to people fleeing the violence from Libya and stranded in Salloum crossing point.
  • The World Food Programme is concerned about the food security of third-country-nationals, especially those stranded inside Libya.