Tripoli, Libya, 16 September 2023 — Today, 29 tonnes of medical supplies arrived in Benghazi, Libya, from the WHO Global Logistics Hub in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The shipment, with enough supplies to deliver medical aid to around 250,000 people, reflects the stepped-up emergency response to unprecedented flooding in eastern Libya caused by Storm Daniel. Supplies include essential medicines, trauma and emergency surgical supplies, and medical equipment. We also have body bags for the safe and dignified removal and burial of the deceased.
The impact of Storm Daniel was further exacerbated by the collapse of two dams in Derna, which killed thousands of people. More than 9,000 people remain missing. WHO teams are working with the Libyan Ministry of Health to trace the dead and missing. To date, 3,958 bodies have been recovered, identified and death certificates issued. This number is expected to increase as more bodies are recovered by search and rescue teams.
“This is a disaster of epic proportions,” said Dr. Ahmed Zuiten, WHO representative in Libya. “We grieve the indescribable loss of thousands of souls. Our thoughts are with the families who have lost loved ones and with all the communities affected. , is fully committed to providing the necessary assistance to restore health services to the affected population in eastern Libya. ”
Today’s shipment will help replenish supplies at more than half of the affected area’s health facilities, most of which are unable to function due to shortages of medicines and medical equipment. Supplies will be provided to hospitals and primary health care centers, which will be critical to restoring function. The 29 tonnes (130 cubic meters) of supplies arriving today is the second delivery by WHO. The first delivery of 29 tonnes of emergency medical supplies was made from WHO’s existing emergency stockpile in Libya.
WHO is working closely with the Libyan Ministry of Health and the National Center for Disease Control to identify and respond to the health needs of survivors and affected populations in temporary settlements and displacement camps. WHO teams are working on the ground as part of an evaluation mission led by the Ministry of Health, as well as participating in evaluation missions conducted by United Nations agencies. This ongoing health assessment covers Al Bayda, Al Marji, Shahat districts and other affected areas.
While this assessment continues, the current priority is to restore the functioning of hospitals and health centers and to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases. WHO supports the emergency delivery of health care through the provision of essential goods and supplies, such as medical equipment, medicines for the treatment of communicable and non-communicable diseases, surgical supplies and anesthesia supplies.
WHO’s response priorities in the coming weeks and months include conducting detailed health assessments, restoring the functioning of health facilities in affected areas, and establishing fixed and mobile clinics as close as possible to affected populations. This includes: WHO will further strengthen access to health care by deploying international emergency medical teams to provide health services in remote and hard-to-reach areas. Strengthening disease surveillance and infectious disease control is critical, especially for the estimated 35,000 people who have been displaced by this crisis. WHO will also work with local health authorities to coordinate the overall emergency medical response.
B-roll of medical supplies being loaded at the WHO logistics hub at the International Humanitarian City in Dubai: click here
Access WHO photo library images of Libya floods: click here
Yahya Bouzo, Communications Officer, WHO Libya Country Office