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The Daniel storm that hit eastern Libya on Sunday September 10 was devastating. Official figures put the death toll at over 5,000, with several thousand missing.
The humanitarian needs are still difficult to assess with any accuracy because telephone connections and roads have been partially cut off, making it difficult to access the affected areas. However local humanitarian organizations are reporting extensive damages and important needs for food items, clean water, nonfood items and hygiene kits.
The coastal town of Derna, in the east of the country, has been particularly affected. Two dams upstream from the town burst under the pressure of the floods. Water poured into the town and the river crossing the city overflowed. The town’s buildings were fragile and badly damaged by the fighting that took place in the city until 2019 between armed groups. The images of the destruction are impressive and hundreds of residents are still report trapped in the city.
The country declared three days of national mourning and launched an appeal for international aid. However coordinating humanitarian aid is a challenge since the UN coordination mechanisms in the country has been dismantled. In addition the political situation in the country remains complex and fragile with a country split in two, where it is difficult to see a single power emerge without electoral process in place. In this context, public services are not fully functional and not in capacity to cope with the needs. Almost 1.5 million people were already in need of humanitarian aid in the country before the floods.
Since the beginning of the floods our teams have been in contact with local actors in Eastern Libya to assess needs and define relevant support in distributing drinking water, hygiene kits, food and essential goods to more than 1,000 people as quickly as possible. “In the coming days we will continue our needs assessment and defining a humanitarian response accordingly, in agreement with the local authorities and aid actors already in place” explains Areeg Mahdawi, country director for Action contre la Faim in Libya.
Action contre la Faim has been in Libya since 2019 to enhance the resilience of conflict-affected populations and build the national institutional capacity to provide access to basic services to the most vulnerable communities.
Our organization intervenes in the rural areas of Tripoli and Sabha by rehabilitating primary healthcare centers and providing training and building the capacities of health personnel on health, ensuring free access to basic health care for all.
Another Food security and livelihood project is being implemented in both Sabha and Ubari municipalities. The programme will support vulnerable farmers, with women actively engaged in agricultural activities, to improve their resilience through capacity-building and direct in-kind support to adopt agro-ecological farming practices more adapted to the context.
Action contre la Faim operates in the West and in the South of Libya through one coordination office in Tunis, and two bases located in Tripoli and Sabha.
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