The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) along with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said on Monday they would expand their support for people in areas outside of Tripoli, including Zawiya, Misrata, Benghazi, and Zuwara, as well as continuing in Tripoli.
The UN agencies said in a joint statement that the second phase will target an additional 6,000 refugees and asylum seekers, with another 10,000 people to be included in the program by the end of this year.
They explained that support will include food assistance for food-insecure refugees and asylum seekers, in response to the severe socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, as well as the effects of the ongoing conflict.
The statement raised concern that government measures related to the Covid-19 pandemic, such as movement restrictions and curfews, as well as the ongoing conflict and economic crisis, have provoked a surge in food prices, while many refugees and asylum seekers are struggling to find daily work to support themselves.
"The situation is getting worse by the day. Many people can’t access food for a number of reasons, including prices going up and limited food availability. At the same time, there are almost no opportunities to work," said WFP Representative and Country Director in Libya, Samer AbdelJaber.
The food baskets consist of locally ready-to-eat food, which does not require any cooking, to help people at a time when cooking fuel prices are soaring, said the UN agencies.
It is noteworthy that the expanded food distributions began over the weekend at WFP’s distribution point in Zawiya, with the support of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF Africa).