Medicines, food, body bags, first aid kits and household items from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will be distributed to communities in Libya to assist the thousands of families in need after the devastating floods in the country’s northeast.
Additional ICRC teams are being sent to the region to distribute humanitarian assistance. The ICRC is also strengthening its forensics team in Benghazi as it distributes 6,000 body bags to help authorities and the Libyan Red Crescent Society ensure dignified treatment of the dead.
“This disaster was violent and brutal. A wave 7 metres high wiped out buildings and washed infrastructure into the sea. Now family members are missing, dead bodies are washing back up on shore, and homes are destroyed. The city faces immense emotional trauma,” said Yann Fridez, the head of ICRC’s Libya delegation, which had a team in Derna to support families with micro-economic activities when the floodwaters overwhelmed the city.
Kitchen sets, mattresses and hygiene items are to be distributed in Derna in coming weeks jointly with the Libyan Red Crescent Society. Medicines are also being donated to authorities and Libyan Red Crescent in coming days.
A major challenge for humanitarian action is access to the flood-hit areas, as roads have been seriously degraded or destroyed. The ICRC is also evaluating the risk posed by unexploded ordnance and abandoned munition stores in Derna, an additional challenge to residents, emergency responders and authorities now working to alleviate the hardship.
“It’s heartening to see a sense of unity among the population and authorities who are uniting to provide as much assistance as possible. But this is a long road now. It will take many months, maybe years, for residents to recover from this huge level of damage,” Fridez said.