Regional Flash Appeal for the Libyan Crisis 2011 – Revision

Regional Flash Appeal for the Libyan Crisis 2011 – Revision


Since the start of anti-Government protests and civil conflict in February 2011, more than 800 000 people have fled Libya, mostly to Tunisia and Egypt. The number of people reported to have been killed or wounded could be as high as several thousand.

The Interim Transitional National Council was established on 5 March 2011 in opposition to the Government. On 17 March 2011 the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1973, authorizing the use of force in order to protect civilians. In the following weeks, the international community responded with airstrikes and the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya, while Government and opposition forces continued to fight.

Although the United Nations was able to establish a humanitarian presence in areas affected by the conflict, the situation remains precarious as the conflict ensues. Following its initial launch on 7 March 2011, the Regional Flash Appeal for the Libyan Crisis 2011 was revised on 18 May to reflect an updated account of needs based on assessments. The revised appeal seeks USD 407.8 million over a six-month timeframe to respond to the humanitarian needs of conflict-affected people in eastern Libya, western Libya (as access permits), the borders areas with Tunisia and Egypt and limited parts of neighbouring countries that have received returning migrants.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) are co-leading the Food Security Cluster. The Cluster’s objectives are to: (i) safeguard the food security of conflict-affected populations; (ii) support the national food supply system; (iii) improve local capacity to target, assist and monitor vulnerable groups; and (iv) provide emergency agriculture and livelihood support.

Challenges facing food security

Libya imports 75-90 percent of its food and fodder requirements, which renders its poor populations particularly vulnerable to market volatility. However, local production of fresh and nutritious foods (poultry, meat, dairy, vegetables) covers a large proportion of domestic consumption. Sanctions against the Government, lack of commercial shipping and deteriorating currency exchange rates have disrupted almost all bulk food and fodder supply into the country. Existing food stocks are sufficient for no more than eight weeks. The poultry and sheep/goat subsectors are expected to run out of feed stock during the same period.

Although community solidarity mechanisms have, thus far, staved off a large-scale national food crisis, they are a short-term solution. As prices for fresh foods and private commercial imports rise, households are encountering difficulty in meeting their basic food requirements, especially in light of widespread non-payment of salaries and limited financial liquidity. Continued violence and political instability are expected to severely affect food production, imports and distribution. Priority interventions include food system stabilization and governance, including the capacity building of state and non-state actors and the expansion of local food production.

Disruptions to the agricultural inputs supply chain is imparing local food production and deepening the economic crisis. Maintaining full productive capacity is essential to prevent a rapid decline in national food and nutrition security.

More than 80 percent of those who have recently fled Libya went to Egypt and Tunisia. It is important to ensure that the presence of refugees and the reintegration of returning migrants do not place excess burden on the host communities. This is particularly the case among the pastoralist communities that live along the Libyan border with Tunisia and Egypt that traditionally rely on crossing the border regularly with their herds.

FAO response

Within the framework of the revised Regional Flash Appeal for the Libyan Crisis 2011, FAO, as part of the Food Security Cluster, has received support in the amount of USD 450 000. FAO is currently requesting USD 14.6 million to increase food and nutrition security in Libya and crisis-affected areas of Egypt and Tunisia that are hosting returnees/refugees.

FAO’s emergency response activities aim to:

  • support local production of fresh and nutritious foods through the distribution of emergency inputs and technical support;
  • assist host communities in Tunisia and Egypt who are receiving/hosting refugees and returnees;
  • empower state and civil society actors to identify food system criticalities and related solutions; and
  • provide effective coordination and leadership in needs assessment and analysis, programme design, strategy development, information management, advocacy and monitoring in the Food Security Cluster.