The World Food Programme (WFP) has begun providing desperately needed food assistance to more than 5,000 families displaced by massive flooding in Libya.
Entire neighbourhoods in the city of Derna have disappeared, along with many of their residents, after floodwaters from Storm Daniel caused two ageing dams to collapse.
On Tuesday, food distributions, through WFP’s partner LibAid, had already reached 2,000 people who had fled Derna and arrived in the city of Benghazi.
On Wednesday, WFP was distributing food to about 700 flood-affected families in four locations within Derna.
“These devastating floods have struck in a country where a profound political crisis has already left so many in a desperate situation,” said WFP Executive Director, Cindy McCain. “Alongside the tragic loss of life, thousands of families in Derna are now without food or shelter. WFP is on the ground, supporting local efforts and providing assistance to the most vulnerable people as they try to get back on their feet.”
Derna is the worst-affected city while Albayda, Almarj, Benghazi, Bayada, Al Owailia, Taknes (AlJabal Al Akhdar), Talmeitha, Tobruk, Toukra, Shahhat and Sousa were also hit.
The floodwaters in the east of the country have damaged critical infrastructure, including roads, bridges and water supply systems, exacerbating the humanitarian situation. It is estimated that tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the storm and subsequent flooding.
WFP is part of the Libya Rapid Response Mechanism, which brings together local partners and UN agencies, and ensures the quick access needed to provide assistance within 72 hours of a disaster. WFP is working closely with local authorities and UN partners. WFP’s planned emergency operation will aim to provide monthly food assistance to 100,000 people in flood-affected areas for three months.
WFP’s work in Libya is not limited to the current crisis. The organization already supports over 52,000 people – internally displaced people, returnees, and migrants in urban areas – through food assistance and cash grants.
Additionally, WFP collaborates with the government on resilience-building activities such as school feeding. By providing ongoing assistance and implementing long-term measures, WFP strives to address the multifaceted challenges faced by vulnerable communities in Libya.
The frontline agency responding to emergencies caused by conflict, climate shocks, pandemics and other disasters, WFP is currently tackling ongoing crises in around 20 countries or regions.
Each day WFP has 6,500 trucks, 20 ships and 140 planes on the move, delivering food and other assistance in some of the most remote and challenging parts of the world.
WFP is grateful to donors like Japan and Switzerland who provided the funds which allowed WFP to preposition the food stocks which were immediately mobilized for the initial crisis response.