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Regional Flash Appeal for the Libyan Crisis 2011
On 16 February 2011, anti-Government protests began in Libya and have since escalated into a widespread uprising across the country. As a result of the violence, it is estimated that approximately 200 000 people, mostly migrant workers, have fled the country, primarily to Tunisia and Egypt. This number is expected to double as fighting continues. Although there have been no independent and verifiable figures, the number of people reported to have been killed or wounded range from hundreds to thousands.
To date, the international response has been limited in Libya, especially in the west of the country as a result of insecurity. The Regional Flash Appeal for the Libyan Crisis 2011 was launched in Geneva on 7 March 2011 and seeks a total of USD 160 million to respond to the humanitarian needs of those who have fled Libya as well as vulnerable populations within the country over a three-month timeframe. A revised Appeal is planned to be issued in the coming weeks.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will serve as co-lead agency for food security along with the World Food Programme (WFP). The sector objectives are to: (i) save lives and reduce food insecurity; (ii) restore the livelihoods of vulnerable conflict-affected populations, including those in host communities; and (iii) establish immediate capacity for effective, up-to-date information on food security needs and gaps.
Challenges facing food security
Libya imports approximately 80 percent of its cereal requirements, which renders its poor populations particularly vulnerable to food price volatility. Food price increases have directly contributed to political unrest throughout the region. In addition, the Libyan economy is heavily dependent on oil revenues. National crop production is concentrated in the Jebel Akhdar region near Benghazi and the Jifarah Plain near Tripoli. Continued violence and political instability are expected to severely affect food production, imports and distribution.
Furthermore, major risks have been identified with regard to the outbreak of animal disease and a disruption to the animal feed supply system, which has already been stressed by ongoing drought.
There is currently no systematic, up-to-date and dynamic system for food security information, analysis and monitoring. Identifying immediate food security needs and gaps are, thus, difficult and must be given greater priority in order to formulate more appropriate and effective response plans.
Therefore, there is an urgent need for a series of rapid needs assessments concerning food assistance, cash and vouchers, agricultural production inputs, protection and the restoration of agriculture-based livelihoods. There is also a need for a functional food security early warning system that would monitor and map the supply of select food commodities, livestock feed and animal health products.
Within the framework of theRegional Flash Appeal for the Libyan Crisis 2011, FAO, as part of the food security cluster, has requested USD 2.65 million to restore agriculture-based livelihoods in Libya and crisis-affected populations of Egypt, the Niger and Tunisia. At the same time, FAO will enhance programming and coordination of food security interventions in these areas. FAO’s emergency response activities aim to:
- support vegetable production through the distribution of a variety of domestic seeds and compound fertilizer;
- protect livestock assets through the provision of inputs and animal health services;
- assess the full scale and impact of the conflict on food security in consultation with cluster counterparts so as to adapt humanitarian response activities to the most urgent needs and achieve sustainable outcomes; and
- provide coordination and leadership in programme design, strategy development, information management and advocacy to partners in the food security sector.