8 March 2011
ROME - A convoy of trucks from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has entered Libya and is due to arrive in the eastern port city of Benghazi today. WFP is mobilising food for the hungry as part of a US$39.2 million emergency operation designed to provide food assistance to more than one million people (1,060,000) in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia over a three-month period.
A convoy of trucks carrying 70 metric tons of high-energy, fortified date bars crossed the Egyptian border last night on its way to Benghazi. This would be the first delivery of food assistance from a UN agency to enter the country.
Preparations are under way for the delivery of another 70 metric tons of the locally-produced date bars, and 150 metric tons of wheat flour, taken from the stocks of WFP's operations in Egypt.
WFP has delivered almost 5 metric tons of fortified date bars to Salloum, on the Egyptian border and these are now being distributed to people arriving from Libya.
A shipment of 1,182 metric tons of wheat flour which turned back from Benghazi last Thursday amid security concerns, set sail for Libya again today.
WFP airlifted 80 metric tons of High Energy Biscuits to the Libya/Tunisia border on 28 February, and these are being distributed as part of the food rations being offered to new arrivals.
WFP took part in a joint UN mission to Benghazi, to assess humanitarian needs. The mission found that replenishing stocks will be necessary as the country is heavily dependent on imported food.
The inter-agency mission had talks with the Libyan Red Crescent, who welcomed the possibility of WFP support in prepositioning and providing relief items and basic food commodities for needy Libyans.
WFP has offices in Tripoli, Benghazi and a logistics hub in Al-Kufra some 1,200 km south of Benghazi which supports operations in Chad and Sudan for refugees from Darfur.
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Each year, on average, WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.
WFP now provides RSS feeds to help journalists keep up with the latest press releases, videos and photos as they are published on WFP.org. For more details see: http://www.wfp.org/rss
WFP has a dedicated ISDN line in Italy for quality two-way interviews with WFP officials.
For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org):
Abeer Etefa, WFP/Cairo, Tel. +202 2528 1730 ext. 2600, Mob. +20 0166634352
Reem Nada, WFP/Tunisia, Mob. +21 655 993597 (Tunisia) or + 2 01666 34522 (Egypt)
Gregory Barrow, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 6513 2330, Mob. +39 348 1325018
Caroline Hurford, WFP/London, Tel. +44-20-72409001, Mob. +44 7968 008474
Emilia Casella, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41-22-9178564, Mob. +41-792857304
Rene McGuffin, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1-202-6530010 ext. 1149, Mob. +1 202 4223383
Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1-646-5566909, Mob. +1-646-8241112