DAKAR – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said today that convoys bringing food to more than 250,000 Sudanese refugees in Chad recently resumed from Libya through the Sahara desert in a push before the rainy season commences.
"The resumption of the Libyan corridor operation is a race against the clock. We have five months to deliver food aid to the refugee camps in Eastern Chad before the rainy season blocks the roads," said Mamadou Mbaye, WFP Country Director in Chad.
WFP thanked the governments of both Libya and Chad for ensuring the safe passage of these convoys through 2,800 kilometres of Sahara desert from Al Khufra, WFP's logistics hub in the south of Libya, to the Touloum, Oure Cassoni and Iridimi refugee camps in eastern Chad.
"WFP is grateful for the government of Libya's invaluable support for the provision of much- needed food to refugees in Eastern Chad," added Mamadou Mbaye.
Since August 2004, Libya has been providing this crucial ground transport corridor from the port of Benghazi through the Sahara to Chad. This ensures that WFP can proceed with regular food distributions and pre-position food stocks in eastern Chad's refugee camps before the rainy season starts in July.
A first convoy of 58 trucks left Al Khufra at the end of December and is due to reach the camps in eastern Chad before the end of January. A second convoy of nearly 100 trucks also departed Al Khufra over the weekend for the challenging journey across the biggest desert in the world.
In Chad, WFP provides food for 250,000 Sudanese refugees, 180,000 internally displaced Chadians, 150,000 local people affected by the refugee crisis as well as 57,000 refugees from the Central Africa Republic. An additional 215,000 Chadians in the food-deficit Sahelian zone of the country also receive WFP food assistance.