Yesterday, the UN launched a US$ 71.4 million fund appeal for the rescue effort in Libya caused by the Storm Daniel destruction.
Martin Griffiths, the UN Relief Chief said ‘‘the scale of the Libya floods is shocking. We are launching a flash appeal for US$ 71.4 million to swiftly assist 250,000 people. Getting lifesaving supplies to people and preventing a secondary health crisis is essential.’’
Red Cross and WHO advise against quick, mass burial
Meanwhile, the Red Cross and WHO said hastily burying unidentified bodies in unmarked and untraceable common graves actually poses a greater risk of long-term suffering for the surviving families who need the deaths of their relatives verified by forensic specialists. They said the impact of the disaster on surviving families should not be prolonged by causing their relatives to remain “missing” forever.
It explained that natural environmental disasters represent many challenges to the affected authorities and communities, and may result in human deaths in large numbers, leading to the accumulation of corpses. In most cases these do not cause the spread of epidemics and diseases because the cause of death results from injuries or drowning and not disease.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) explained that humanitarian partners are requesting US$ 71.4 million to respond to the most urgent needs of 250,000 people targeted out of the 884,000 people estimated to be in need, over the next three months.
This follows on from the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator allocating on Wednesday US$ 10 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund to scale up interventions in response to this disaster.
OCHA estimates that approximately 884,000 people in five provinces live in areas that have been directly affected by the storm and flash floods in Libya and have been impacted to varying degrees.
It explained that several factors are influencing and exacerbating the severity of humanitarian needs, including pre-existing humanitarian conditions, deterioration of socio-economic situation, logistical and access constraints to certain areas. Prior to the storm, some 300,000 people in Libya were assessed to require humanitarian assistance according to the 2023 Humanitarian Overview, it added.
OCHA revealed that Al-Beida’s hospital, which serves the entire Green Mountain region, has been flooded, forcing the evacuation of ICU patients to private hospitals and clinics, and relocating other patients to different buildings.
It reported that Derna was the hardest hit city, quoting one INGO estimating that 30 per cent of Derna may have disappeared as a result. With the collapse of most roads, OCHA said Derna municipality is urging relevant authorities to establish a sea corridor for emergency relief and evacuations.
The situation in the city of Sousse is also critical; the entire city is submerged in water, requiring aerial rescue operations involving helicopters, according to the spokesperson for the Libyan Ambulance Service, OCHA said.
The Red Cross also announced that a plane carrying 5,000 body bags took off from Geneva today to Benghazi to help ‘‘with the dignified treatment of the dead, in the wake of the crisis’’.
‘‘This is a crisis that Libya cannot face alone’’.
UNSMIL head Bathily
Yesterday, UNSMIL head Abdoulaye Bathily said ‘‘The magnitude of the losses and damage is beyond our collective imagination. This is a crisis that Libya cannot face alone. My gratitude to all countries that have sent rescue teams, equipment, and life-saving supplies to help Libya in this difficult time.
The Libyan people have set a great example of unity, compassion and resilience in the face of this devastating tragedy. Today, I see one united Libya, no east, west, or south. I urge all Libyan authorities and institutions to continue coordinating their response efforts.
Derna port back in operation
The Libya Ports and Maritime Transport Authority said today that it had conducted a survey of Derna Port and that the port was now operational again. It said it can only take ship draughts of 6.5 metres. It said it had formed a committee to deal with incoming aid shipments.
First Libyan ship arrives with aid
The state National Oil Corporation (NOC) announced that its ship (Asso 25) arrived at the port of Derna today loaded with food supplies and aid.
Spain’s Repsol sends rescue experts
The NOC also announced that a rescue team from its partner, Spanish oil company Repsol, consisting of a team of 20 rescue experts, with their equipment, excavators, and equipment, arrived in eastern Libya today. The NOC announced they immediately started on rescue operations in the mountain cities that had not receive aid yet.
5,000 homes damaged
The Housing and Infrastructure Board (HIB), Green Mountain Office, announced in a preliminary report today, that the number of homes damaged because of floods and landslides in the affected areas is estimated at about 5,000 homes.
It revealed that the region needs maintenance and rehabilitation of about 35 km of damaged roads, and 20 km of main rainwater drainage lines.
The HIB confirmed the collapse of water networks as a result of water wells being filled in with mud and water, which resulted in the interruption of drinking water in several areas of the affected municipalities.
Tripoli Health Ministry sends more aid to east
The Tripoli-based Libyan Ministry of Health reported that 20 trucks, containing 60 refrigerators for storing bodies, with a capacity of 360 bodies per refrigerator, along with 30 isolation rooms – headed to the city of Derna today.
The Ministry reported that a plane carrying medical personnel and auxiliary personnel on board arrived at Benina Airport, coming from Tripoli, while another plane left Mitiga Airport soon after. These carried a medical team of 250 medical and paramedical personnel.
It also reported that 63 forty-foot containers loaded with various medical supplies from the stores of the Medical Supply Organisation (MSO) in Tripoli, headed to the eastern region today to support medical and therapeutic services in areas affected by the floods.
Finally, the Ministry of Health said a shipment of two 40-foot trucks loaded with masks and seven 700 medical oxygen cylinders were sent today to the stores of the Benghazi Medical Supply Organisation.
Telecoms are back up
According to the Chairman of the Telecommunications Holding Company (LPTIC), Mohamed Bin Ayad at today’s daily government press conference on the flood rescue effort, the entire telecommunications networks are working excellently throughout the eastern region. This includes the beleaguered city of Derna.
He said most communications towers destroyed by the floods had been resurrected, fibre optic cables restored, or alternative connections made. Alternative satellite routes had also been arranged.
More foreign aid arriving
More foreign aid arrived in eastern Libya today. The German embassy in Tripoli announced that its aid arrived at Benghazi’s Benina Airport today and began its journey to the stricken cities in the eastern region. We hope that this aid will contribute to the reconstruction and recovery of the affected areas, the Embassy said.
The EU announced yesterday that it continues to support the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Libya through its Civil Protection Mechanism.
It reported that new offers of aid from EU Member States include:
- a medical team of 53 people from France
- shelter items, heavy machinery, including rubble removal trucks, 1 diving specialised team with 3 zodiac boats and 2 transport vehicles, and 2 search and rescue helicopters from Italy.
These offers come in addition to assistance already provided by Germany, Romania and Finland in the form of shelter items, generators, food items, as well as hospital tents and water tanks channelled via the Mechanism.
In addition, the Netherlands has offered to deploy a technical expertise team, including IT, logistics and mapping experts.
Furthermore, the EU said it had released Wednesday an initial €500,000 in humanitarian funding to tackle the most urgent needs of people in Libya affected by the impact of Storm Daniel.
It said EU humanitarian aid experts are being deployed to the field to rapidly assess the emerging humanitarian needs on the ground. It added that the EU’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre stands ready to coordinate further offers of assistance.
The EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, said: “The flood emergency in Libya triggered prompt support from EU Member States. New offers from France, Italy and the Netherlands of medical personnel and equipment, rescue boats, helicopters and other vital aid have been made available to strengthen the response. I thank all the EU Member States who are channelling their generous support and helping to save lives in this critical emergency.”
Aid planes also arrived in the east from Bangladesh, Russia and the UAE.