Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

UN Warns of Disease Outbreak Risk after Flooding in Libya

Mon 18 Sep 2023 | 11:02 PM
Israa Farhan

UN agencies issued a warning on Monday that the devastated Libyan city of Derna, struck by floods that left thousands dead, is facing the risk of disease outbreaks that could lead to a "second devastating crisis."

Massive floods struck the coastal city in eastern Libya last week, claiming over 3,000 lives, with thousands still missing.

UN agencies have cautioned that the affected population, including 30,000 people now homeless, urgently needs clean water, food, and basic supplies, as the risk of cholera, diarrhea, dehydration, and malnutrition increases.

The UN Support Mission in Libya stated, "Teams from nine UN agencies have been deployed over the past few days on the ground to provide assistance and support to those affected by Hurricane Daniel and the floods."

However, it warned that local authorities, relief agencies, and the UN's World Health Organization "are concerned about the risk of disease outbreaks, especially due to contaminated water and sanitation shortages."

The UN Support Mission in Libya stated in a statement that "the team continues to work to prevent the spread of diseases and the emergence of a second devastating crisis in the region."

Heavy rains, falling in large quantities on parts of eastern Libya on the night of Sunday, September 11th, caused two dams in Derna to collapse, resulting in a powerful flow of water along a usually dry riverbed.

The water swept away parts of the coastal city, home to 100,000 people, along with its infrastructure. The water flowed several meters high, described by some as a "tsunami," and destroyed bridges connecting the east and west of the city.

UN teams, including UNICEF, UNHCR, and the World Food Programme, have been present in and around Derna over the past few days to assist survivors.

The UN Support Mission in Libya stated that UNICEF teams have provided "medical supplies to primary health care providers to support 15,000 people for three months," while the UNHCR distributed supplies, including blankets, nylon sheets, and kitchen utensils, to 6,200 displaced families in Derna and Benghazi.