A week after Libya flood, aid effort gains pace

A week after a flash flood the size of a tsunami ravaged the Libyan coastal city of Derna, killing thousands of people, the worldwide relief effort for the heartbroken survivors began to pick up speed on Sunday.

In the mud-covered wasteland of shattered houses, crushed automobiles, and uprooted trees, search-and-rescue personnel continued their bleak hunt for bodies or any survivors while wearing face masks and protective suits.

30,000 traumatized citizens are currently homeless in Derna alone, and UN agencies warn that the risk of cholera, diarrhea, dehydration, and starvation is rising. Traumatized residents urgently need clean water, food, shelter, and basic supplies.

“In this city, every single family has been affected,” said one resident, Mohammad al-Dawali.

Mohamed al-Zawi, 25, another witness, described how he witnessed “a large mountain of water bringing with it cars, people, belongings… and pouring everything out into the sea.”

The actual death toll was unknown amid the turmoil, and many others were swept into the water.

Othman Abdeljalil, the eastern administration’s minister of health, reported that 3,283 deaths in Derna had been verified after 31 more bodies were found on Sunday.

However, thousands of people are still missing, and Libyan officials and humanitarian organizations have warned that the final death toll may be far higher.

On their way from Benghazi to Derna on Sunday, members of a Greek rescue team were engaged in a collision, according to officials in both countries.

Four members of the rescue team perished in the collision between their coach and a car carrying three Libyan family members, according to Abdeljalil, who informed reporters in Derna. Seven other team members suffered significant injuries.

In Athens, a statement Greek National Defence General Staff statement said there had been an accident but spoke only of “minor injuries” among the team members, and that the circumstances “have yet to be clarified”.

UN Libya envoy Abdoulaye Bathily visited Derna on Saturday, and posted on X, formerly Twitter, that the devastation was “truly heart-wrenching. I saw firsthand the magnitude of the disaster. This crisis is beyond Libya’s capacity to manage, it goes beyond politics and borders.”

Emergency response teams and aid have been deployed from France, Greece, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, with more on the way from other nations.

Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
No Comments