Gripped since 2011 by civil war, Libya’s population is in the midst of a major humanitarian crisis. Years of political, security and economic volatility, combined with sudden-onset shocks including renewed clashes, the COVID-19 pandemic and the devaluation of the Libyan dinar, have rendered the situation more dire. An estimated 1.3 million people are now in need of humanitarian assistance. More than half of these are food-insecure.
Libya – historically one of the world’s most prolific oil-producing nations – maintained large trade surpluses. Although oil wealth did not percolate down to ordinary citizens, until 2011 the costs families incurred for food were offset to some extent by a welfare state that offered free education, healthcare and public services.
Since 2018, the World Food Programme (WFP) has increased its field presence in Libya and now assists around 100,000 people every month with regular and emergency food distributions throughout the country. Complementary interventions, which include school feeding and food assistance for training, help build resilience for communities and empower women and youth. WFP also works to support the review and rehabilitation of pre-crisis social protection systems.
In addition to partnering with international organizations and working in tandem with the Government of Libya, WFP provides assistance throughout the country through nine local partners. WFP continues to expand its operational base to reach more people in need across the country, and works closely with local crisis committees, which represent communities and provide WFP with the information needed to assess where assistance is most urgently needed.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Libya
WFP assists food insecure and vulnerable people including crisis-affected internally displaced people, returnees, non-displaced populations, refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants in urban areas. WFP provides general and emergency food assistance through in-kind distributions and commodity e-vouchers, as well as emergency food assistance.
WFP works with the Ministry of Education to provide daily school meals to children in the South of the country. WFP has also provided training for school feeding focal points and run, in tandem with the Ministry of Education and local communities, nutrition summer camps, aiming to educate children and parents on nutrition and health. The operation ultimately plans to hand over a national school feeding strategy to the Government.
Resilience and livelihoods
Designed together with local partners and communities, WFP’s food assistance for training activities aim to increase household resilience by providing vulnerable people with vocational skills training courses aligned to the needs of local job markets.
Humanitarian coordination and common services
WFP co-leads the Food Security Sector and leads the Logistics Sector and the Emergency Telecommunications Sector in Libya. It also manages the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), providing safe and reliable air access to Libya for development and humanitarian personnel and light cargo through regular flights connecting the East and West. In 2019, the operation also opened the UN Hub in Benghazi.
Vulnerability Assessment & Mapping
WFP has taken significant steps in the fields of data collection and monitoring of market trends. This includes Vulnerability Analysis Mapping bulletins shared with the humanitarian and development community, and the Migration Pulse, which presents the findings of data collection using innovative web surveys among migrants and refugees in Libya. In addition to this, WFP continues to undertake assessments in order to streamline projects and programmes.