Tripoli, Libya, September 18, 2023 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is issuing a critical warning about a rapidly escalating public health crisis in flood-affected parts of Libya, with particular concern for the residents of Derna. Recent floods have severely contaminated water sources with sewage, rendering them unsafe for consumption and exposing communities to grave health risks. Derna has already recorded atleast 55 children who have become sick as a result of contaminated water.
The flooding crisis has left thousands of people in the Derna region without access to clean and safe drinking water, posing an imminent threat to their health and well-being. Contaminated water can lead to the spread of waterborne diseases, putting vulnerable populations, especially women and children, at increased risk.
The IRC is working in close coordination with local authorities, other humanitarian organizations, and community leaders to ensure a comprehensive and effective response to this crisis to address the pressing health and protection needs in these flood-affected areas including health and protection services and distribution of basic household items.
Elie Abouaoan, IRC Libya Country Director said,
"The situation in Derna and other flood-affected areas of Libya is dire. Access to clean water is a basic human right, and we are deeply concerned about the health and well-being of those affected by this contamination crisis. The IRC is committed to providing immediate assistance to help communities stay safe and healthy during this challenging time."
The IRC is urgently appealing for additional funding to scale up its response and reach more affected individuals and families in Derna and surrounding areas.
Note to Editors:
The IRC will be working on three main response areas directly and with partners to provide:
- Health services:
- Gap filling medical supplies, equipment and medicines
- Deploying Mobile Medical Teams to support emergency medical screenings, treatment, and referrals
- Providing logistical and technical support to pre-existing medical facilities, including field hospitals and public health centers
- Protection services:
- Carrying out Protection Monitoring and Individual Protection Assistance
- Providing psychosocial support
- Distributing Dignity Kits, which contain hygiene and sanitary items, as well as other items explicitly tailored towards the local needs of women and girls
- Basic Household Items (NFIs- Non food items)
- Distributing Family/Baby Kits, which include diapers, clothing and other essentials that provide critical support to displaced families.
- Distributing First Aid Kits and other household items based on findings from initial needs assessments