INTERVIEW-Libyan food supplies could run out in weeks - WFP

Thu May 5, 2011 6:19pm GMT

* U.N. food aid body says Libya only has food for 6-8 weeks

* WFP warns of potential for full-scale humanitarian crisis

* Cost of getting aid to Libya has "risen exponentially"

By Charlie Dunmore

BRUSSELS, May 5 (Reuters) - Libya's food supplies could run out within six to eight weeks unless plans are put in place to avoid a full-scale humanitarian crisis, the head of the United Nation's World Food Programme (WFP) said on Thursday.

Supply concerns are particularly acute in the rebel-held east of the country, where the interim authorities are struggling to buy and distribute food, WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said in an interview.

"The challenge in Libya is that this is a centrally controlled food system that was run by the government, and it's not being restocked now. That whole system could run out of food in six to eight weeks," Sheeran told Reuters in Brussels.

"If we do not address the larger gaps in the food system in Libya -- particularly eastern Libya -- we'll have to envision a fairly massive humanitarian operation."   Continued...

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