Foreign Policy Blogs

Food scarce in Libyan rebel strongholds

Food scarce in Libyan rebel strongholdsIn addition to holding back Muammar Gaddafi’s forces, people in the rebel-held city of Benghazi in eastern Libya are fending off a lack of access to food.  The conflict has raised prices of food supplies and suppliers are cutting off Libyan store owners who cannot guarantee payment because of the difficulty in accessing funds.

The fighting has also slowed food shipments and aid deliveries from organizations like the World Food Programme (WFP).  Last week, WFP was able to transport significant food, water and medical supplies through the port of Misrata and overland into Western Libya.  Rebel-held towns like Yafran, along Libya’s western border with Tunisia, are also facing dire food shortages after being encircled by Gaddafi forces.

According to WFP, food scarcity in Libya, in areas held by both sides in the conflict, is a threat to the entire country:

WFP is also worried about the country’s future food security as food stocks in the country are being eaten and not replenished. The longer the conflict lasts, the more likely that the number of those in need of food assistance will increase.

A recent inter-agency mission found that food stocks in the eastern parts are enough for up to two months only.

Libya is a net food importing country and if the import capacity is not restored quickly, this could lead to a massive food availability problem for the entire population of eastern Libya.

Posted by Michael Lucivero.

Photo credit: The Straits Times/AP