Qatar has dispatched 23 tonnes of aid and a dedicated search-and-rescue team to provide assistance to the flood-ravaged city of Derna in Libya. On Thursday, two aid flights originating from Doha landed in Benghazi, accompanied by personnel from the Qatar Red Crescent. The relief team from Qatar Red Crescent stayed behind in Benghazi to actively participate in search and recovery operations.
Abdul Aziz, a representative from the Qatar Red Crescent, highlighted the substantial quantity of medical supplies included in the aid shipments, aiming to address the urgent needs arising from the disaster. He also mentioned the grim reality of ongoing recovery efforts, as bodies continue to surface due to the devastating floods, with some still submerged in water.
The aid shipments from Qatar encompass various essentials, ranging from tents to medicines. These supplies are expected to reach Derna through alternative routes, as the main roads to the city remain impassable due to flood-related damage.
Osama bin Javaid, reporting from Benghazi, expressed concerns about how this aid will aid the residents of Derna in their arduous journey to rebuild their lives after the catastrophic flood, likened to a tsunami.
The extent of the disaster in Derna has led to varying reports of casualties. While the World Health Organization has confirmed 3,922 deaths, other estimates suggest a much higher toll, surpassing 11,300 fatalities, with thousands of people still unaccounted for and feared dead.
The Libyan Red Crescent emphasized the necessity for specialized teams and equipment to deal with the challenging situation, particularly in areas strongly affected by the tragedy. The pervasive scent of death in parts of Derna has made the situation even more distressing.
Authorities have restricted access to certain sections of the city due to concerns about contamination and the potential spread of disease. However, Riad Qandeel from the Qatar Red Crescent assured that their team is adequately prepared to address these challenges.
These catastrophic floods have prompted a degree of unity among Libya’s two rival governments, which have been at odds since the 2011 uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi. The internationally recognized Government of National Unity operates in Tripoli in the west, while another administration functions in the eastern region.
In recent days, the residents of Derna have staged protests, expressing their frustration with authorities over the failure to maintain the dams that ultimately burst and the lack of evacuation measures prior to the powerful storm.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has reported that the floods have displaced at least 43,059 people, underlining the scale of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the region.