The Tripoli-based 444 brigade has arrived in eastern Libya to help in the rescue and recovery efforts in eastern Libya post Storm Daniel. This could become a historic moment in Libya’s recent history of east-west conflict. The 444 were greeted by one of Hafter’s brigades, where they set off in unison to help in the rescue effort. Remember Khalifa Hafter attacked Tripoli in April 2019, attempting to take control of Libya.
At the societal level, the shock of the effects of Storm Daniel and the resultant flooding in the east has led to a huge outpouring of emotional solidarity and spontaneous support in the form of donations of basic needs and volunteers. Initially, both the military and politicians are also keeping in tune. It is to be seen if this is temporary or will last beyond the immediate aftermath of the Storm Daniel disaster. Could the disaster be a turning point in Libyan post-2011 politics, or will the two factions quickly return to type in days, weeks and months to come?
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative in Libya, Ahmed Zouiten confirmed today that the reported deaths to date are 3,922. He reported the lost/missing to be between 9,000 to 10,000, but he said the death toll might rise further.
The death, casualty and lost/missing figures are controversial and are causing confusion. Different entities are quoting different figures to various media outlets.
In the same vein, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said today that the area affected in eastern Libya by Storm Daniel ‘‘is home to over 1.5 million people.
The true toll of this disaster is still emerging, but local officials have reported over 5,000 deaths and thousands more are still missing. Over 35 thousand are displaced and homeless. This is a calamity of epic proportions.
Even while the death toll is increasing, the health needs of the survivors are becoming more urgent. WHO is working with the Ministry of Health and partners to rush emergency relief to the affected areas.
WHO is releasing 2 million US dollars from our Contingency Fund for Emergencies to support our response.
We are deploying contingency supplies that were already in the country, and 28 metric tonnes of trauma, surgical and emergency supplies are due to arrive tomorrow from our logistics hub in Dubai. WHO has also activated its network of emergency medical teams.
Eight countries and organizations have offered their assistance and a team from France has already deployed its field hospital in the affected area’’.
IOM Libya reported that at least 30,000 individuals have been displaced in Derna due to Storm Daniel. Of these, 3,000 are in Beida, 1,000 in Al-Mkheley and 2,085 in Benghazi. It could not verify the number of deaths.
UK announces aid to Libya
The UK announced an ‘‘initial package worth up to £1 million which will provide life-saving assistance to meet the immediate needs of those most affected by the floods. In addition, the UN has announced $10 million in response to the flooding from its Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), to which the UK is one of the largest donors.
The UK is working with trusted partners on the ground to identify the most urgent basic needs, including on shelter, healthcare and sanitation and stands ready to provide further support’’.
A family and one other saved after five days
Tripoli-based Libyan prime minister Abd Alhamid Aldabaiba celebrated the news today of the rescue of one family and two others saved after five days in Derna.
He also reported today that the Passports Authority has sent a mobile photography and processing team to meet patients in intensive care to prepare their passports to possibly receive healthcare abroad. This follows from his government’s promise to treat abroad everyone affected by the disaster who cannot be treated locally.
He also celebrated the return of electricity to Derna and Souse. The Tripoli prime minister confirmed that the Tripoli General Services Company sent personnel to help in burials in Derna.
The Tripoli General Services Company sends more supplies and personnel east
The General Services Company confirmed that it is indeed sending additional reinforcements to the cemetery and health prevention teams in the stricken city of Derna.
It said two teams departed in a convoy to the east, the first for cemetery services and the other for health protection, spraying and sterilization equipment, and pest and rodent control.
The convoy carried 200,000 masks, 10,000 sterilizers, 1,000 body bags, and all preventive spraying supplies and sterilization equipment. It added that efforts are still underway to provide the remaining needs.
GECOL send convoy of equipment, material and 300 staff to east
On Wednesday, the state General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) that it had sent its second largest convoy to eastern Libya to carry out maintenance work.
The convoy included more than 100 combined machines and trucks loaded with electrical equipment, spare parts, pneumatic transformers, prefabricated stations of various sizes, wooden poles, lighting baskets and generators, along with emergency teams, diesel and cables, and more than 300 technicians and specialists.
It said urgent repairs of faults resulting from the storm that struck a large part of the eastern region are needed.