WFP Steps Up Food Assistance On Libyan Borders, Moves In Supplies

Published on 22 March 2011

CAIRO – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has stepped up provision of food to hungry people crossing Libya’s borders, while airlifting and pre-positioning portable warehouses and office equipment as part of regional contingency plans.

So far, WFP has moved more than 1,500 metric tons of food into Eastern Libya and pre-positioned more than 6,000 metric tons of food in emergency supplies.

•    WFP has airlifted six prefabricated warehouses, six mobile offices and other supplies from the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Brindisi, Italy, to Alexandria, Egypt. They arrived Monday 21 March and will be prepositioned in Salloum on the Libyan border as part of contingency planning for establishing logistics hubs inside Libya.

•    WFP is concerned about access to food inside Libya. An inter-agency survey, conducted in Choucha camp on the Tunisian-Libyan border, heard reports that food prices in Libya had increased sharply in recent weeks, with the price of flour more than doubling, rice by 88 percent, vegetable oil by 58 percent and bread by over 110 percent. It was also reported that 95 percent of shops in areas like Zawiya, Misrata and Sirte were closed.

•    WFP is providing an average of 4,000 hot meals daily at Djerba Airport in Tunisia in cooperation with the UK- based non-governmental organization, Muslim Hands, to passengers moving from the border area and awaiting flights to their home countries. WFP is leading the provision of hot meals in Choucha camp with two full kitchens operational and the capacity to provide up to 25,000 meals daily. WFP is also planning to provide hot meals for people stranded on the Libyan-Egyptian border.

•    Another 4.4 metric tons of fortified date bars arrived at Salloum on the Egyptian-Libyan border at the weekend for distribution to people arriving from Libya. More than 16,000 people have already received food from a similar shipment, complementing food distributions by NGOs and local community groups. WFP is also transporting items such as blankets and mattresses to Salloum on behalf of the refugee agency, UNHCR.

•    WFP plans to move 19 metric tons of lentils and 11 metric tons of vegetable oil in the next two days from the Egyptian cities of Cairo and Alexandria into eastern Libya.

•    WFP is expanding its food safety net programmes in Egypt and Tunisia to assist 180,000 people in communities hard hit by the loss of remittances previously being sent home by migrant workers in Libya. In Egypt we are making local purchases of 1,280 metric tons of rice, vegetable oil, and fortified date bars for distribution in the southern governorates of Assiut and Sohag – enough to feed 90,000 people for one month. In Tunisia, WFP is purchasing food locally for 280,000 people whose families have been affected by the recent turmoil.

•    WFP has deployed experts on the ground on both sides of the border to coordinate and strengthen logistics and telecommunications for the whole humanitarian community as part of Special Operations costing US$4 million. WFP logistics teams have investigated two potential supply routes to send more food and humanitarian assistance into Libya

•    WFP has launched a US$39.2 million emergency programme (EMOP) to provide food assistance to more than one million people (1,060,000) in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia over a 3-month period.