Statement By WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran On Access To The Western Mountains Region Of Libya

Published on 12 May 2011

Fighting is blocking access to the Western Mountains of Libya where the World Food Programme believes food needs could be immense. I am increasingly concerned about the humanitarian situation and access to food for people trapped by the violence in this area. I am appealing to all parties for safe access and for an immediate ceasefire, so that we are able to assess the humanitarian situation and deliver food assistance.

WFP has moved food assistance through a supply route from the Tunisian border into western Libya to reach areas heavily affected by the fighting, for distribution by both our partner the Libyan Red Crescent, and by local communities. The supplies have reached several of the affected places, but we have not yet been able to reach the areas most affected by fighting around Yefrin and Zintan in the Western Mountains.

The supply route is now facing serious challenges due to insecurity in many of the areas, in addition to severe fuel shortages.

WFP chartered two ships to Misrata carrying food assistance and other relief items on behalf of the humanitarian community, but shelling of the port is now making it more difficult to send aid. On 25 April, a vessel chartered by WFP came under fire while departing the port of Misrata. We need immediate safe access to Misrata to send more humanitarian assistance.