Tripoli, Libya, 13 September 2023 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) urgently calls for international assistance to address the catastrophic humanitarian crisis unfolding in Libya as a result of flooding caused by Storm Daniel. More than 3,000 people have been killed and whole neighbourhoods have been washed away, leaving over 34,000 people displaced without homes and basic necessities.
Flash flooding and powerful muddy currents, triggered by heavy rains, have wreaked havoc on communities in the east of the country sweeping away homes, vehicles, and debris. The situation is dire, with phone lines in the affected areas down, severely complicating rescue efforts. Destruction to roads and bridges continue to hamper the ability of aid agencies to enter affected cities including Derna, Sousse, Shahat, AlMarj and AlBayada and other rural communities in hard to reach areas.
Elie Abouaoun, IRC Libya Country Director, said:
“The IRC is gravely concerned about the protection needs of those caught up in this tragedy, especially thousands of women and children who have to leave their homes in search of safety. Urgent emergency shelter is needed for those unable to return to their homes, and psychosocial support for those who have seen their lives literally washed away.
“Medical services have also been impacted with patients evacuated to other cities, including those that were also affected, we have heard that many clinics and hospitals in the area have become overwhelmed and are exceeding capacities. Ambulances are in need of repair, physical access challenges and needs for logistical support are making it difficult for health volunteers to reach affected areas.
“There are also fears about the possibility of waterborne diseases taking hold after sanitation and hygiene infrastructure was severely damaged. Access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities will be required to prevent a further crisis within a crisis.”
The IRC is preparing a response and is committed to working with local partners and the Libyan authorities to provide immediate assistance to those affected by this disaster. We urge the international community to step up and support the people of Libya in their time of need.
The IRC has been working tirelessly since 2016 to provide essential healthcare and protection to vulnerable Libyans, refugees, and migrants affected by this protracted crisis.