Libya: emergency aid for victims of storm Daniel

The passage of storm Daniel on 10 September 2023 caused devastating flooding in north-east Libya. The violence of this climatic phenomenon caused the Al-Bilad and Abu Mansour dams in the city of Derna to burst. More than 30 million cubic metres of water poured into the city, causing enormous material and human damage.

Consultations conducted by Première Urgence Internationale in November 2023 to meet the needs of victims of storm Daniel © Première Urgence Internationale

The entire coastal area of the country was affected,” explains Camille Saulnier, head of the Libya mission for Première Urgence Internationale. “In Derna, the town worst hit by the disaster, two dams broke, causing a gigantic mudslide that engulfed everything”.

The consequences for the people and infrastructure affected are unprecedented. To date, the floods have left at least 4,352 people dead, more than 8,000 missing and more than 43,000 displaced.

Storm Daniel in Libya, Première Urgence Internationale provides emergency aid Nursery at the Al-Bayyadah medical centre following storm Daniel in Libya in September 2023 – © Première Urgence Internationale

Health centres were hit hard. The disaster rendered some medical equipment unusable and exacerbated the staff shortages that hospitals were already facing. At the same time, drinking water networks have been damaged or destroyed, forcing survivors to make substantial purchases of bottled water. This represents a significant cost for the most vulnerable families and exposes many people to illnesses linked to drinking contaminated water.

Restoring access to healthcare for flood victims

Storm Daniel in Libya, how Première Urgence Internationale teams bring emergency aid to victimsFebruary 2024, Listatah Clinic – © Première Urgence Internationale

It is in this difficult context that Première Urgence Internationale is helping displaced people in rural areas on the outskirts of Derna.

To facilitate access to healthcare, we have deployed a mobile health team with the local health authorities.

“Composed of a gynaecologist, a general practitioner and nurses, this team travels to health centres in difficulty to offer free consultations and medicines”, explains Camille Saulnier. “The aim is to provide a back-up in the absence of medical staff”.

In this way, the team has been able to support the public health centres affected by the floods. It visits the field four times a week and has set up a rotation system to cover seven primary healthcare centres. They provide emergency consultations and prescribe medicines.

Restoring access to drinking water

In addition, our teams, assisted by those of the Libyan Red Crescent, are working to rehabilitate the water networks.

“As well as raising people’s awareness of the need to purify water and manage it properly, we are working with the local authorities to clean wells, repair pipes and replace certain pumps,” continues the head of mission. “We want to make sure that everyone has access to drinking water as quickly as possible”.

In total, these emergency actions will benefit almost 44,000 people.

These initiatives are made possible thanks to the World Health Organisation, the Collectivité de Corse, the Crisis and Support Centre, SIEMENS, the Secours Catholique-Caritas France, and Tulipe.

Find out more about the mission’s activities in Libya.


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