UN launches flash appeal for victims of Libya flooding
UN humanitarians and partners issued a flash appeal worth 71.4 million US dollars on Thursday to meet the urgent needs of Libyans suffering from devastating floods.
The funds are for 250,000 people targeted out of the 884,000 people estimated to be in need over the next three months, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The flash appeal may be updated once additional information becomes available.
The hardest-hit areas include Derna, Albayda, Soussa, Al-Marj, Shahat, Taknis, Battah, Tolmeita, Bersis, Tokra, and Al-Abyar, OCHA said. Displaced victims shelter in schools and hotels.
The humanitarians reported that Albayda's hospital, which serves the entire Green Mountain region, was flooded, which forced the evacuation of intensive care unit patients to private hospitals and clinics and relocated other patients elsewhere in the facility.
UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths said the scale of the flood disaster is shocking, with entire neighborhoods wiped off the map and whole families, taken by surprise, swept away in the deluge of water.
Griffiths said that all hands are on deck to get as much help and support to people as possible, adding that the United Nations deployed a robust team to support and resource the international response in coordination with first responders and Libya's authorities.
Libya's UN ambassador Taher El-Sonni said Thursday that he has been meeting with UN officials on delivering relief, a matter feared complicated by politics.
In recent years, the country has been divided between the internationally recognized government in Tripoli, representing the western part, and the Benghazi faction, representing the eastern portion, where the devastation occurred.
"There is a lot of support from all around Libya, despite the challenge of this unfortunate incident," El-Sonni told reporters. "But, it has shown the real material of Libyans where they all came together to rally and support those who are affected. So, at this stage, we need the support of the international community. We need the support of the UN agencies."
He said the fatalities have reached 6,000 people, but quickly added, "I cannot really confirm the final numbers. But it's really on a high magnitude, and I'm afraid that we'll hear really large numbers, even more than what has been confirmed so far."