Support to people affected by floods in Libya
The needs for assistance in Libya are immense after the country was hit hard by Storm Daniel, which caused widespread flooding. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) is providing initial support of SEK 15 million for life-saving activities in the form of food provision, medicines and other essential emergency items to support survivors.
“Our cooperation partners on the ground are currently focused on saving lives by distributing various emergency items, but psychosocial support is also a key priority. They are also assisting rescue services with logistics and resources. This includes current urgent response efforts to provide support to authorities in the management of dead bodies,” says Sida’s Director of Humanitarian Assistance Jakob Wernerman.
Around 884 000 people in need of humanitarian assistance
Several cities in eastern Libya have been particularly affected. The quantity of water caused two dams above the city of Derna to collapse, which created a flood wave that washed away entire neighbourhoods. A quarter of the city has been completely destroyed. The disaster has claimed a large number of human lives, and around 10 000 people are still missing. Some 43 000 people have been forced to flee the floods and become homeless. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that a total of 884 000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance in the affected areas. Meanwhile, the delivery of emergency supplies is extremely challenging, as roads and bridges leading to these areas have been destroyed.
Risk of disease outbreaks
Moreover, organisations are warning of the risk of explosive remnants of war being displaced by the floods. The risk of disease outbreaks, due to the lack of clean water and food, is also imminent.
“This tragedy is a reminder of the effects of the climate crisis and how severe the consequences of natural disasters are when they hit communities that are already vulnerable, with weak infrastructure, inadequate maintenance and low preparedness in a politically unstable and conflict-ridden environment,” says Mr Wernerman.
Sida has allocated SEK 15 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to rapidly respond to the urgent needs in Libya. In cooperation with the Libyan Red Crescent, the ICRC is working with rescue operations, management of dead bodies, and ensuring access to health services, emergency items and medicines.
SEK 2.475 million is being allocated to Action Against Hunger to provide drinking water, sanitation and hygiene articles, assistance for people who have fled to temporary accommodation, and mental health and psychosocial support.
The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) – one of Sida’s partners – has seconded an environmental expert to the EU team that is leading needs assessments.
Each year, Sida provides unallocated funds to humanitarian partners. The funds can be used to respond to sudden-onset or severely deteriorating crises. This provides a prerequisite for a faster and more flexible humanitarian response.