By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 22 September 2014:
A seven-truck convoy from the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) and Refugee . . .[restrict]Agency (UNHCR) has arrived in the west of the country to help the thousands of families displaced by recent fighting in Tripoli.
The aid convoy will move from Zintan to Gharyan and Tarhuna and is expected to assist 6,700 people over the course of a month. It has carried more than 1,300 food rations and hygiene kits. Each ration can feed a family of five for a month and comprises items like wheat flour, pasta and tomato paste.
“Although the security situation in Libya is volatile and perilous, WFP has managed to resume food assistance operations in the country,” WFP Regional Director Mohamed Diab said. “We are assessing the situation on the ground and our assistance will be increased in line with people’s needs,” he added.
The UN has said that the deteriorating security situation in Libya continues to cause new waves of displacement, particularly in the western outskirts of Tripoli and in Benghazi.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has put the total number of people internally displaced at more than 140,000 and has said that “assessing their needs poses huge challenges.”
Following previous battles in and around Tripoli International Airport, Janzur and now, more recently in Warshefana, Zawia, Ghariyan and the surrounding area, the price of food and basic items such as cooking fuel and wheat flour, have more than doubled as supply routes are blocked by the protracted violence.
Most displaced people are living in schools and host communities have been under growing strain from the influx, the UN has said.
“It is extremely challenging to reach out to affected communities in order to deliver much needed assistance, while clashes and fighting are ongoing. Their needs are growing by the day and we need to be able to respond on time. Today, much more support is needed but it requires our ability to get into the affected areas,” said Saado Quol, UNHCR’s Acting Chief of Mission in Libya.
It is the second time UNHCR, working together with its partners, has sent cross-border humanitarian aid to refugees fleeing conflict in Tripoli, On 18 August, a previous convoy reached some 12,000 displaced people in Zawia. Working with local partners, UNHCR plans to reach 85,000 people in need of protection and assistance by end of this year.
The WFP had phased out assistance when the he country stabilised following the 2011 revolution. Now it plans to cover the food needs of 50,000 people in the country until the end of the year.