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WFP Convoys Reach Stranded Populations As Access Increases In Libya

As humanitarian access increases in Libya, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has dispatched food assistance to the south of the country and to people who have fled heavy fighting in the town of Bani Walid. Since the crisis began, WFP has distributed, through its partners, food assistance to 800,000 people in Libya.

  • CAIRO-- A WFP convoy delivered 137 metric tons of mixed food assistance on Sunday to Shmaikh where thousands of people have fled from Bani Walid, 180 km south-east of Tripoli. The delivery includes pasta, rice, pulses, vegetable oil and tomato paste and is enough to feed 10,000 people for one month.
  • WFP also shipped last week more than 30 metric tons of food from Tripoli to Shoarif in southern Libya to some 400 conflict-affected families. This is the first WFP convoy to the south of Libya since operations began in March this year. The convoy was also carrying urgent supplies, including water and clothing, on behalf of UNICEF and a Libyan non-governmental organization (NGO).
  • WFP has prepositioned in warehouses in Tripoli and Benghazi over 3,000 metric tons of food -- enough to cover the needs of up to 200,000 stranded people in the towns of Bani Walid and Sirte, as well as Sabha in the south where reports suggest large numbers of people are in need of food assistance.
  • Another convoy delivered 137 metric tons of food from Tripoli to the town of Al-Assabaa, close to Gharyan 100 km south-west of the capital. The shipment will cover the urgent food needs of 10,000 people in the Nafusa Mountain town that recently saw an end to hostilities.
  • Last week, WFP partners began distributing staple foods to vulnerable populations inside Tripoli. The Libyan Red Crescent and Sons of Libya distributed a one-month ration to 1,500 displaced Libyans in three camps, to 1,000 stranded migrant workers and to 25,000 vulnerable people (5,000 resident families) who have no access to subsidized food shops. The food basket includes rice, pasta, vegetable oil and tomato paste.
  • WFP has so far distributed, through its partners, food assistance to nearly 800,000 people in Libya. The agency is reaching Tripoli and western towns by sea and by land via the Ras Ajdir border crossing in Tunisia.
  • From 1 May through 15 September, the WFP-operated Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) transported 3,125 passengers including aid workers and diplomats between Malta, Cairo, , Benghazi, Heraklion, Misurata, and Tripoli.
  • However, a critical funding shortfall may force WFP to suspend UNHAS by the end of this month. The service requires US$12.7 million to continue through the end of December 2011 and is presently facing a shortfall of US $7.6 million. Flights will already be significantly reduced from tomorrow, with Cairo and Djerba removed from the flight schedule to cut costs.
  • WFP is also assisting the humanitarian community in Libya with logistics, storage and emergency telecommunications. As lead UN agency in this field, WFP last week installed the basic data and voice emergency telecommunications facilities for the United Nations system in Tripoli.
  • Since the start of operations, WFP has transported over 9,000 cubic metres of cargo for some 30 organizations.