NEW YORK – 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, UN News said.
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.
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.”
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.
OCHA estimates that more than 880,000 people, in five provinces, live in areas directly affected by the storm and flash floods.
“All hands are on deck to get as much help and support to people as we can. The UN is deploying a robust team to support and resource the international response, in coordination with first responders and Libya’s authorities”, the head of OCHA, and UN relief chief Martin Griffiths said.
Meanwhile, it is a race against time for emergency teams searching through piles of debris for survivors.
“The scale of the flood disaster is shocking, with entire neighborhoods having been wiped off the map and whole families, taken by surprise, swept away in the deluge of water,” Griffiths said.