UN Launches Urgent Appeal to Assist 250,000 Libyans Devastated by Catastrophic Floods
News source: Internet
In a desperate response to the catastrophic flooding that has engulfed Libya, the United Nations has launched a flash appeal aimed at aiding a staggering 250,000 Libyans who have been severely impacted by the calamity. The disaster unfolded on Sunday, as torrential rains, spawned by Storm Daniel, caused two dams near the now-devastated port city of Derna to burst, resulting in entire neighborhoods being inundated by the surging waters.
Michele Servadei, the Libya Representative for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), painted a grim picture of the situation, stating, "The situation is quite terrible as you can imagine." UNICEF quickly sprang into action, dispatching medical kits and supplies for 10,000 individuals in the initial days. Additionally, 1,100 hygiene kits and clothing kits were sent, although it's acknowledged that these efforts are only a fraction of what is urgently needed. Mr. Servadei stressed the importance of providing psychosocial support, not only for those who have been displaced but also for those in shelters and those who endured the harrowing experience of that fateful night.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has already stepped in to provide food assistance to over 5,000 families who have been displaced by the devastating floods. Cindy McCain, the Executive Director of WFP, expressed the gravity of the situation, emphasizing that these floods have struck a country already grappling with a profound political crisis, leaving countless citizens in dire circumstances.
Libya's vulnerability to natural disasters is exacerbated by its lack of a unified government, a condition that has persisted since 2014. The nation remains divided between an interim, internationally recognized Government operating from Tripoli, and another in the east, with numerous armed groups exerting influence within its borders.
The UN's aid coordination office, OCHA, issued an urgent plea for $71.4 million in donations to address the needs of approximately 250,000 flood-affected individuals in Libya over the next three months. OCHA cautioned that the death toll could continue to rise without additional assistance. Their estimates indicate that more than 880,000 people in five provinces are residing in areas directly affected by the storm and flash floods.
Martin Griffiths, the head of OCHA and UN relief chief, declared, "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."
As emergency teams race against time to search through heaps of debris for survivors, Martin Griffiths expressed the shocking scale of the disaster, with entire neighborhoods obliterated and families unexpectedly swept away by the deluge of water. Cindy McCain also highlighted the dire situation, noting, "Alongside the tragic loss of life, thousands of families in Derna are now without food or shelter."