The World Health Organization (WHO) said it had sent 29 metric tonnes of health supplies to Benghazi, Libya, from the WHO Global Logistics Hub in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, adding that the shipment arrived on Saturday.
Who also indicated that with enough supplies to reach almost 250,000 people with health aid, the shipment reflected an intensified emergency response to the unprecedented flooding in eastern Libya in the aftermath of Storm Daniel.
Storm Daniel hit eastern coastal cities, especially Derna, Al-Bayda and Al-Marj, on Saturday. Two dams collapsed in Derna valley, washing away entire neighborhoods and killing entire families. The flood torrent obliterated around a quarter or the Mediterranean city of Derna.
The mayor of Derna, Abdelmonem Al-Ghaithi, told Libya Alahrar TV that the number of deaths could reach as high as 18,000 to 20,000 based on the destroyed buildings and houses in the ravaged city. However, other estimates, especially the statement of the Health Minister of the east-based government, Othman Abduljalil, said the official records in eastern Libya had registered 3,166 deaths up until September 15.
“The supplies include essential medicines, trauma and emergency surgery supplies, and medical equipment. There are also body bags for the safe and dignified movement and burial of the deceased.” WHO explained.
WHO said that more than 9000 people were still missing and that its teams were working with the Libyan Ministry of Health to track the dead and missing.
“Thus far, the bodies of 3,958 people have been recovered and identified, and death certificates have been issued. This number is projected to increase as more bodies are recovered by search and rescue teams.” WHO further added.
It indicated that the shipment would help replenish supplies in more than half of the health facilities in the affected areas, most of which are not functioning due to shortages of medicines and medical equipment.
“The 29 metric tonnes (130 cubic metres) of supplies that arrived today are the second delivery made by WHO. A first delivery of 29 metric tonnes of urgent medical supplies came from WHO’s existing contingency stocks in Libya.” WHO stressed.
WHO said it was working closely with Libya’s Ministry of Health and the National Centre for Disease Control to identify and address the health needs of survivors and affected populations in temporary settlements and camps for displaced people.
It added that its teams were active on the ground as part of an assessment mission led by the Ministry of Health, as well as participating in assessment missions being conducted by UN agencies. It sadi the ongoing health assessment covered the Al-Bayda, Al-Marj and Shahat districts, in addition to other storm-ravaged areas.
WHO clarified that its current priorities were to restore functionality in hospitals and health centres, and to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases, saying it would support the urgent delivery of healthcare through the provision of medical equipment, and essential medicines and supplies, including treatments for communicable and noncommunicable diseases, and surgical and anaesthesia supplies.