The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) thanked the Government of Libya for facilitating the transport of 14,000 metric tons of cereals through its territory to Chad, where more than 200,000 Sudanese fleeing the conflict in neighbouring Darfur have taken refuge in camps in the north of the country and are desperately in need of assistance.
In addition to assisting WFP in port operations, including customs clearance, port storage and other services, Libya has also provided highly subsidized fuel prices, free storage in warehouses in the oasis town of El Khufra, escorts to the Chadian border and road repairs.
“In an emergency operation of this magnitude, the logistics of getting the food to the areas most in need is simply a race against time. We are extremely grateful for Libya’s continuing support to make this operation run smoothly and quickly,” said Naila Sabra, WFP’s Regional Director for the Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.
Since August 2004, Libya has provided a crucial ground transport corridor from the Libyan port of Benghazi through the Sahara Desert and on to Chad. This route, which is currently crossed by hundreds of Libyan desert trucks, continues to deliver substantial amounts of WFP food aid. About 6,000 tons of food are still is in warehouses in Khufra, the last town before the desert starts, waiting to be transported.
To date, WFP has delivered by truck over 100,000 tons of food through the Libyan corridor. “The Libyan corridor is a crucial transportation channel that has allowed us to dramatically increase the amount of food aid we can deliver overland to Darfur and Chad,” said Sabra.
Shared frontiers with six other nations have rendered Chad vulnerable to the spill-over effects beyond its borders. The country has very limited capacity to cope with the presence of refugees and relies heavily on external assistance to be able to improve its own food security.