Storm Daniel Unleashes Chaos
Destruction in Eastern Libya
In a dire humanitarian crisis, nearly 300,000 children in eastern Libya have been exposed to the devastating impact of Storm Daniel, as a growing number of children and families now find themselves in desperate need of assistance. This catastrophic storm has left a trail of destruction, causing extensive damage to homes, hospitals, schools, and vital infrastructure.
Eastern Libya Bears the Brunt
Storm Daniel unleashed chaos upon eastern Libya, wreaking havoc and leaving a path of destruction in its wake. Dams burst, buildings crumbled, and entire towns, notably Al Bayda, Al Marj, and the coastal city of Derna, suffered the brunt of its fury. Derna, a town already reeling from the impacts of conflict, now faces a prolonged road to recovery as the scale of devastation sets back its progress by years.
A Humanitarian Crisis Unfolds
Thousands at Risk, Hospitals Inaccessible
As the dust settles, the grim toll of Storm Daniel becomes apparent. It is reported to have claimed the lives of more than 5,000 people, with hundreds more still missing. Over 30,000 internally displaced persons, currently sheltered in schools and various areas, find themselves cut off and unreachable. Furthermore, the storm has left at least three hospitals out of service and inundated at least ten primary healthcare centers.
UNICEF’s Urgent Response
Efforts to Save Lives and Support the Vulnerable
UNICEF’s response to this unfolding tragedy has been swift. Michele Servadei, UNICEF Representative in Libya, currently on the ground in the affected areas, emphasized the urgency, stating, “The children of Libya are facing yet another tragedy after over a decade of conflict. Our priority is to scale up life-saving assistance, in particular providing healthy water and sanitation supplies, psychosocial support, family tracing, and preventing waterborne diseases. To prevent a catastrophe, we can’t afford to lose any time.”
Grave Risks to Children
Beyond Immediate Dangers
Beyond the immediate risks of death and injury, floods pose severe threats to the health and safety of children. With compromised access to safe water supplies, the chances of diarrhea and cholera outbreaks, dehydration, and malnutrition rise significantly. Moreover, children who become separated from their families are at heightened risk of violence and exploitation.
Mobilizing Aid for Children in Crisis
UNICEF, with a long history of support for the children of Libya since 1957, has mobilized crucial supplies to aid in the immediate humanitarian response. This includes essential medical supplies for 10,000 people, 1,100 hygiene kits, water treatment materials, and clothing kits for 500 children.
Urgent Funding Required
Meeting Immediate Needs
To address the pressing needs of children and families in Al Bayda, Al Marj, Benghazi, Derna, and other affected areas, UNICEF urgently requires a minimum of US$6.5 million for life-saving interventions. Immediate priorities include securing safe drinking water, medical supplies, mobile health teams, psychosocial support, and family tracing.
Looking to the Future
Rebuilding for the Long Term
While the full extent of humanitarian assistance will become clearer in the coming days as ground assessments continue, UNICEF stands ready to collaborate with authorities on the recovery and reconstruction phase, with a particular focus on healthcare, water, and education facilities. The road to recovery for Libya will be long, but with concerted efforts, there is hope on the horizon.