An estimated 60,000 Egyptians and their family members returning from Libya will be provided with monthly food vouchers as part of an emergency operation launched Wednesday by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) following a request from the Egyptian government.
The operation, which will last for three months, will be launched in five governorates that have the highest number of returnees from Libya: Sohag, Minya, Assiut, Qena, and Kafr El Sheikh.
Since 2015, and amid continued security unrest in Egypt’s neighbouring country, thousands of Egyptians have returned back to their homeland in fear of spreading violence, which sometimes deliberately targets Egyptians and minority groups.
Libya has witnessed a rising insurgency by different rebel groups and militias since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011.
The country was previously a primary destination for unemployed Egyptians seeking work, often entering illegally, in order to send remittances home.
Rebel groups and Islamist militias have taken advantage of the deteriorating security conditions in Libya targeting Egyptian citizens, and in some cases specifically Christians.
In one of the worst cases of violence against Egyptians living in Libya, 21 Egyptian Copts were kidnapped and beheaded on a beach in the city of Sirte in February 2015. The beheadings were videotaped and broadcast on a pro-Islamic State website.