UN World Food Programme

WFP Mobilizes Food For Hungry In North Africa

Copyright: Bruno Stevens for Stern/Cosmos

In response to the ongoing crisis in North Africa, WFP is launching a US$ 39.2 million emergency operation to provide food assistance to 1.06 million people. The food will go to vulnerable populations in Libya, and to people fleeing across borders into Tunisia and Egypt.

ROME -- In response to the regional crisis, WFP has launched a US$39.2 million emergency operation to provide food assistance to more than one million people in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia over a 3-month period.

The first emergency food supplies reached people fleeing violence in Libya on March 1 and more food is being mobilised. Enough wheat flour has been shipped to the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi to feed around 105,000 people and trucks have been sent in with more.

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Meanwhile, WFP has deployed experts on the ground to coordinate and strengthen logistics and telecommunications for the whole humanitarian community as part of special operations costing US$4 million. Under the UN 'cluster' system, WFP is mandated to coordinate logistics and telecommunications for the whole humanitarian community in emergencies.

Most vulnerable

Initially, the UN food agency intends to reach some 600,000 people in Libya, partly through general food distributions and partly with other types of assistance. The organization is working with partners and local community committees to identify the most vulnerable to food shortages and food insecurity. 

Food assistance will be also be channelled to neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt, where some communities will be hit both by the drop in remittances from migrant workers and the presence of additional mouths to feed.The initial plan targets 280,000 people in Tunisia and 180,000 people in Egypt for food assistance.
More than 270,000 people have left Libya since the crisis began. This number includes more than 147,000 who fled to Tunisia, 115,000 to Egypt, around 2,200 to Niger and 6,700 to Algeria.

WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran has called for safe humanitarian access to Libya so that food can be provided to address the needs of those people – especially women and children – who may need assistance.

Earlier this month, a WFP-chartered ship carrying food to Libya was forced to turn back amid security concerns. It set sail again from Malta a few days later and arrived safely.

Donation news

The U.S. Government has just provided $10 million in humanitarian assistance to WFP's Libyan crisis operations. This is more than a quarter of the $39.2 million requested by WFP as part of the combined UN 'Flash' Appeal for Libya. Learn more