Mercy Corps and Taiwan ICDF provide food assistance in Libya

Libya, June 6, 2011

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Mercy Corps  </span>
    Mercy Corps board member Bob Newell (center) and emergency responder Jill Morehead (right) discuss needs with a Libyan farmer. Photo: Mercy Corps
  <span class="field-credit">
    Jill Morehead/Mercy Corps  </span>
    They've been caught in the crisis of Libya's conflict as well. Mercy Corps is helping acquire and deliver chicken feed. Photo: Jill Morehead/Mercy Corps

It’s been almost four months since the unrest in Libya began. Prompted by civilian demonstrations fueled by over 40 years of Gaddafi’s tyrannical rule and looking to bring forth a new regime, the peaceful protests escalated into violence as Gaddafi’s forces quickly tried to squelch the uprising.

The ongoing violence has resulted in a dire humanitarian situation in Libya with large-scale refugee outflows, shortage of food, medical and hygiene supplies and extensive civilian casualties, largely in the western Libyan port city of Misrata.

Mercy Corps went into Libya in early March and since then has evacuated thousands of foreign nationals, delivered humanitarian and food assistance and conducted several wide-scale humanitarian assessments.

One assessment found that severe disruption to supply lines had created a critical lack of chicken feed, a main staple food in Libya. In Western Libya, supply chain for chicken feed had been disrupted due to conflict and suppliers had resorted to culling chickens and destroying eggs in order to maintain their breeding stocks with current levels of stockpiled feed. Coupled with the fact that in eastern Libya, government-controlled chicken breeding farms and supply channels had all but ceased to exist, Libyan families who were accustomed to eating chicken three to five times a week were facing a major food concern.

With an overall threat to food security in Libya and the added chicken shortage, Mercy Corps decided an immediate supply of chicken feed was needed to alleviate short-term shortages. With the financial support of Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF), a Mercy Corps team will send trucks from Benghazi to Cairo to acquire and deliver 125 tons of chicken feed to local chicken breeders in Libya, keeping existing breeders healthy and allowing for more time to employ a more sustainable solution.

It’s a short-term solution needed to address an urgent situation and one that creates the least amount of market disruption in a country where everything else hangs in the balance in a quest for peace and long-term security.