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Libya flood: Global aid effort intensifies

September 14, 2023

The humanitarian response to the catastrophic flooding in Libya was gathering pace on Thursday as European and Middle Eastern nations pledged aid. The death toll has already passed 5,000 and is expected to rise.

French aid workers wait by a cargo plane loaded with disaster relief for Libya, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023 at the Istres military base, southern France
As the death toll in Libya passes 5,000, international aid is starting to arrive. Here, from France.Image: Daniel Cole/AP/picture alliance

Global aid efforts were intensifying on Thursday as the international community responded to the devastating flooding in northeastern Libya.

Up to a third of the population of the coastal city of Derna has been displaced, at least 30,000 made homeless, 4,000 confirmed dead and thousands more missing after heavy rain caused two dams to burst, prompting tsunami-like torrents of water to wash large parts of the port into the sea.

What help is on the way?

After pledges of support from the United Nations ($10 million) and the European Union ($537,000) on Wednesday, further individual nations were also ramping up efforts on Thursday.

Two German Air Force transport planes are set to leave Hannover carrying mattresses, tents, blankets, field beds and generators after the German government promised rapid help, while France was sending around 40 rescuers, a ton of medical supplies and a field hospital (see main photo).

Turkey, one of the first countries to respond earlier this week, announced on Wednesday evening that two additional military field hospitals were being sent by ship, while an Italian naval vessel is also expected to moor off the Libyan coast on Thursday to offer logistical and medical support.

From the Middle East, two planes carrying 150 tons of aid have already taken off from the United Arab Emirates, while another flight from Kuwait took off on Wednesday night carrying 40 tons of supplies.

A military plane loaded with food parcels, tents, blankets and mattresses was en route from Jordan, and Palestinian media reported that a rescue mission had also departed from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

According to state media, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the president of Libya's eastern neighbor Egypt, has ordered the establishment of "shelter camps" for survivors.

Libyans furious with authorities over devastating floods


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mf/rc (AP, dpa)

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