Red Cross: There is still hope of finding survivors in Libya

Middle East News
2023-09-15 | 08:37
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Red Cross: There is still hope of finding survivors in Libya
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Red Cross: There is still hope of finding survivors in Libya

Tamer Ramadan, the head of Libya operations for the Red Cross, stated on Friday that "there is still hope of finding survivors" following the catastrophic floods that struck the country, resulting in thousands of deaths and missing persons last weekend.

Ramadan, from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, made this statement during a press conference held in Cairo.

He emphasized that "there is hope, and the hope of finding survivors is still there."

In contrast, he refused to provide a specific death toll, stating that it "will not be final or accurate."

Various preliminary and very temporary reports suggest that at least 3,800 people have died, but observers agree that the toll is expected to rise significantly in the coming days as rescue teams continue to remove debris and clean affected areas.

Martin Griffiths, the Deputy Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs at the United Nations, also stressed the unknown extent of the disaster in eastern Libya during the same press conference in Geneva.

Griffiths said, "I think our problem is coordinating our efforts with the government and other authorities in eastern Libya, and then discovering the size of the disaster. We have not reached that point yet. We do not know."

This uncertainty is particularly evident in the city of Derna, where torrential rains washed away entire rows of houses on Sunday night when two dams collapsed due to heavy rainfall.

Griffiths added, "The level of needs and the number of casualties are still unknown."

The delivery and transport of aid in Libya also face difficulties due to the political situation.

Libya has been in chaos since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011, with two competing governments vying for power. 

The first government is based in Tripoli in the west, led by Abdul Hamid al-Deibah and recognized by the United Nations. The other government operates in the east of the country, which was hit by the storm, headed by Osama Hamad and supported by the powerful figure in the east.

Griffiths explained that a team of humanitarian coordination experts, comprising around 15 people from Morocco, has been transferred to Libya.

Heavy rains and floods have washed away many roads and bridges, making it difficult to access the affected area.

The United Nations official praised the proposal by the Mayor of Derna to help those affected by the sea.

Griffiths affirmed, "This is entirely logical," especially for transporting large quantities of aid.

However, he stressed the importance of maintaining an inclusive strategy that does not favor one access route over another.

He emphasized that it is essential to continue seeking both land and sea access, as well as to inspect "people who have fled Derna towards the south (...) and they also need assistance."



AFP
 

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Red Cross

Hope

Survivors

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