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Storm-ravaged Libya faces a long road to recovery as humanitarian groups ask for $71 million in aid

September 20, 2023: Storm Daniel has departed from Libya, a nation embroiled in a decade-long conflict and economic turmoil, leaving behind a catastrophe. With limited resources for search and rescue operations, experts caution that humanitarian organizations will require tens of millions of dollars to address the needs of those affected on the ground.

According to the UN Development Programme, humanitarian partners seek $71.4 million to address the most pressing needs of 250,000 individuals out of an estimated 884,000 people requiring assistance over the next three months. Roula Abubaker, a spokesperson for UNDP, mentioned that the organization is still gathering data from its ground mission to determine the total cost of the damage.

The toll from the storm is grim, with over 3,000 reported casualties and more than 9,000 individuals still unaccounted for, a number expected to rise, according to the World Health Organization, though verifying these figures has proven challenging. Meanwhile, the International Organization for Migration estimates that 40,000 people have been displaced internally due to the storm. Medical facilities are struggling to provide care to civilians, and morgues are running out of space for the deceased.

Mohamed Elkwafi, a volunteer with the Eastern Libyan National Army Security Units in Derna, emphasized the urgent need for specialized and experienced rescue teams, stating, “No matter how many pictures you see about Derna, you do not see anything. We don’t need water or food. We need specialized and experienced rescue teams.”

The rare Mediterranean hurricane wreaked havoc on dams in Libya’s eastern port cities, including Derna, Soussa, Benghazi, Albayda, and several other towns, causing widespread devastation. The storm transitioned over land, resulting in severe flash floods and unprecedented rainfall that led to the collapse of infrastructure and homes. Storm Daniel formed in early September over Greece, causing fatalities before moving through Turkey, Bulgaria, and North Africa.

Storm-ravaged Libya faces a long road to recovery as humanitarian groups ask for $71 million in aid