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UN concerned about spread of disease in Libya after dramatic floods



This photo taken on September 18, 2023 shows a view of destroyed buildings in the eastern Libyan city of Derna after deadly flash floods/AFP.

This photo taken on September 18, 2023 shows a view of destroyed buildings in the eastern Libyan city of Derna after deadly flash floods/AFP.

United Nations agencies on Monday battled to prevent the spread of the disease in the Libyan city of Derna, which was devastated by floods a week ago that left thousands dead and missing.

The UN Assistance Mission in Libya (Manur) said in a statement that teams from nine UN agencies are providing aid and support from eastern Libya to people affected by Storm Daniel and the sudden flooding that hit Derna and other towns. He explained that he is providing support on the ground to do so.

Local authorities, aid agencies and the World Health Organization (WHO) team are concerned about the “risk of spread of the disease, particularly due to contaminated water and lack of sanitation,” the WHO mission said in a statement.

WHO’s mission therefore “continues to work to prevent the spread of the disease and avoid a second devastating crisis in the region,” the mission added.

On Sunday, September 10th, a storm from the Mediterranean struck Derna, causing two dams on the riverbed to burst. According to local reports, the dam has had cracks since 1998 and was never repaired.

Witnesses compared the volume of water to a tsunami, which devastated the city of 100,000 and killed nearly 3,300 people, according to the latest official balance sheet (still preliminary).

International humanitarian organizations and local officials have warned that the final balance could be even higher as Libyan and foreign rescue teams continue to search for thousands of missing people this Monday.

The Libyan Red Crescent announced the launch of a missing persons counting platform and appealed to the public to provide information on those being searched for.

Abdul Wahab al-Masoori laments the deteriorating situation in Derna.

“We grew up here, we were raised here (…) but we came to hate this place, we came to hate what this place had become,” he said. said. “It’s back to how it was 1,000 years ago. People are living in caves and the city looks dead, empty and lifeless.”

Organizing relief efforts has been complicated by the political turmoil that has prevailed since the overthrow and death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Libya currently has two competing governments, one in Tripoli, which is recognized by the United Nations, and the other in the east, which is recognized by the United Nations. damaged area.

temporary bridge

Hamza al-Jafifi, a 45-year-old soldier, told AFP that a week after the disaster, he found naked bodies of “old people, young people, women, men and children” on the beach.

“The body was stuck between rocks,” he said.

Rescue efforts are not without problems. Five members of a Greek rescue team died in a road accident shortly after arriving in eastern Libya, Greek authorities said on Monday.

Three Libyan family members in the other car were also killed in the crash, the government that rules eastern Libya said.

Emergency teams have already been dispatched from France, Greece, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

According to Egyptian media, Egypt has dispatched the helicopter aircraft carrier Gamal Abdel Nasser to the Tobruk naval base to be used as a 100-bed field hospital.

France announced it had set up a field hospital in Derna and began operating it on Sunday.

Derna residents said most of the victims were buried in mud or washed into the Mediterranean Sea.

The Tripoli government has sent aid and rescue teams to Derna, and on Monday announced the start of construction of a “temporary bridge” across the river bed.

The two banks of the boulevard are currently cut off after the four structures that connected them were washed away.

The water flooded an area of ​​6 square kilometers in the densely populated city of Derna, damaging 1,500 buildings. A large number of them, 891, have been “wiped off the map,” according to preliminary estimates by the Tripoli government based on satellite images taken before and after the disaster.

Source: Diario.Elmundo

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