Thursday, May 23, 2024

Libya: UN Launches Flash Appeal to Aid 250,000 Libyans Hit By Devastating Floods

UN humanitarians are working flat out on the ground in Libya, providing desperately needed aid to thousands of survivors of the flood disaster that has left thousands dead and thousands more unaccounted for.

Disaster struck on Sunday when torrential rains from Storm Daniel led two dams close to the now devastated port city of Derna to burst, pushing entire neighbourhoods into the sea.

“The situation is quite terrible as you can imagine”, UN Children’s Fund UNICEF‘s Libya Representative, Michele Servadei, told UN News.

‘Drop in the ocean’

“As UNICEF, we have sent medical kits and medical supplies for 10,000 people. This was the first couple of days. We sent 1,100 hygiene kits, we sent clothing kits, but that is still a drop in the ocean.”

He said psychosocial support was urgently needed besides lifesaving supplies, “not only for the displaced but also for the ones that are in shelters”, or who remain stranded having lived through “that terrible night.”

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has already provided food assistance to more than 5,000 families displaced by the catastrophic floods.

“These devastating floods have struck in a country where a profound political crisis has already left so many in a desperate situation,” WFP Executive Director, Cindy McCain said.

Libya is particularly vulnerable to the impact of natural disasters as it has no unified government. The country has been split since 2014 between an interim, internationally recognized Government operating from the capital, Tripoli, and another in the east, with many armed groups also operating on its territory.

Appeal for $71 million

UN aid coordination office OCHA, on Thursday issued an urgent appeal to donors for $71.4 million to respond to the needs of around 250,000 people impacted by the floods in Libya over the next three months, saying death tolls could rise without more help.