Libya’s Humanitarian Effort

On March 17th 2011, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1973, which called for a no fly zone over the northern Africa country of Libya. But as the fighting continues, thousands of people will lack food and other necessities they need to live.

In a closed meeting to the General Assembly, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “there is an urgent need for humanitarian access” in Libya. But as soon as the rebels started the fighting, Qadhafi’s forces have been on the eastern and western borders stopping humanitarian agencies from entering the country.

As the no fly zone has been enforced, fighting continued between the Libyan government and the rebels, an entire week passed until three UNHCR trucks were able to enter the country delivering 18.5 tons of pulses (seeds that contain a variety of nutrients), plus sleeping mats and blankets.

With 23 people on the ground, the World Food Program (WFP) has distributed almost 11 thousand metric tons of food within the country and the surrounding camps, but they have only been able to enter the eastern part of the country. Abeer Etefa, Senior Regional Public Information Officer for WFP, told me food has been brought to “7,000 internally displaced persons in Eastern Libya.” But with the ongoing conflict “we face challenges in access to some cities especially in the contested areas. We hope to be able to deploy more teams on the ground as soon as the security situation allows and a safe humanitarian corridor is established.”

As the fighting increased, replenishing the food in the country has been difficult. Abeer told me 95 percent of the shops have been closed, making it more difficult for people to meet their basic needs. As the conflict continues, more people will need to receive aid.

While the total operation is costing $39 million dollars, an additional $4 million is being used to build better communications systems for non-profits working in the country. For the next three months, WFP plans to feed 600,000 people in Libya, and an additional 280,000 and 180,000 to the people living in the camps.

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Filed under Ban Ki-moon, Libya, Qadhafi, United Nations, World Food Program

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