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Eight weeks after the passage of storm Daniel, the eastern coast of Libya, and in particular the city of Derna, continues to lick its wounds.
Action contre la Faim (ACF) and its local partner, the Libyan Red Crescent, have come to the aid of more than two thousand people in the fields of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS).
On September 11, in Derna, the bursting of two dams under the pressure of flooding engulfed homes and infrastructure, leaving more than 4,352 people dead and several thousand missing. This natural disaster, with its extremely heavy toll, comes on top of more than a decade of political crisis, which has considerably weakened water and health infrastructures and hampered access to basic needs and income-generating activities¹. In 2022, some 800,000 people were already in need of humanitarian aid in Libya².
An estimated 250,000 people have been affected by the consequences of the Daniel storm, and over 43,000 have been displaced within the country, including 16,000 in Derna itself³. According to the multi-sector analysis carried out in conjunction with local stakeholders and authorities, the people affected by the disaster are mainly in need of food, drinking water, non-food items and hygiene kits. Residents are also in a state of great emotional distress, and many are showing signs of acute post-traumatic stress.
Several events, including a breakdown in communications and partially cut roads, have delayed the deployment of the operational response in Derna and the surrounding area.
In an initial distribution, Action contre la Faim provided personal protective equipment for Libyan Red Crescent rescue teams, including 5,000 gowns and 10,000 gloves, as well as 500 bottles of water (15 liters each), 500 winter blankets and 500 hygiene kits for people affected by the disaster. During the distribution of the hygiene kits, 250 people attended psychological support sessions.
« In the coming weeks, Action contre la Faim will be stepping up its operations in the fields of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to help victims of the disaster and support local stakeholders. After a needs assessment, interventions could be extended to 5 other localities on Libya’s eastern coast » explains Guy Halsey, Deputy Regional Operations Director for the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Northern Africa.
Action contre la Faim has been working in Libya since 2019 to improve the resilience of conflict-affected populations and strengthen the capacity of national institutions to provide access to basic services for the most vulnerable communities.
Our organization intervenes in the rural areas of Tripoli and Sabha by rehabilitating primary health care centers and providing training and capacity building for health care staff, thus guaranteeing free access to basic health care for all.
Another food security and livelihoods project is being implemented in the municipalities of Sabha and Ubari. The program will help vulnerable farmers, including women actively engaged in agricultural activities, to improve their resilience through capacity building and the implementation of agroecological activities to better cope with climatic hazards.
Action contre la Faim operates in western and southern Libya through a coordination office in Tripoli and two bases in Sabha and Benghazi.
1. Since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has been governed by two administrations: one in Tripoli (west), recognized by the UN and headed by Prime Minister Abdelhamid Dbeibah, the other in the east, embodied by Parliament and affiliated to the camp of Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
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