Libya is in crisis. Following the aftermath of catastrophic floods, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) urgently called upon the international community for assistance on Thursday. As per their assessments, hundreds of thousands of Libyans are in dire need of relief.
According to OCHA, the immediate objective is to raise $71.4 million to address the most pressing requirements of 250,000 individuals, a segment of the estimated 884,000 people in need of aid within the next quarter. The impact of the floods is extensive.
Almost 900,000 residents across five provinces have been affected directly by the aftermath of the storm and subsequent inundation. This storm, dubbed "Daniel", wreaked havoc on Libya last Sunday, having already unleashed its fury on Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey.
Derna: A Town in Turmoil
The severity of the disaster is poignantly exemplified by the calamity that befell Derna. Following the storm, two dams situated in the mountains above the town's port could not withstand the pressure, leading to their heartbreaking rupture.
The resulting deluge decimated large parts of this town, which was home to 100,000 people. While the authorities governing eastern Libya report a distressing death toll exceeding 5,000, the Mayor of Derna fears the actual numbers might be far grimmer, suggesting fatalities in Derna alone could reach up to 20,000.
In the wake of this tragedy, the UN Spokesperson’s Office has highlighted ongoing search and rescue operations. These crucial efforts are spearheaded by national agencies, the military, the Libyan Red Crescent, and a legion of local volunteers.
Global Support and Solidarity
The gravity of the situation has prompted a unified response. UN Secretary-General António Guterres conveyed his profound condolences and unwavering solidarity with the flood victims. Speaking from New York, Guterres assured that the UN is poised to collaborate with partners to deliver essential emergency assistance.
Georgette Gagnon, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Libya, has been proactive amidst the chaos. She has marshaled an emergency response team to bolster the local authorities and partners, hoping to bring some respite to a nation grappling with overwhelming loss and adversity.