Sida Grants SEK 15 Million to Aid Flood-Stricken Derna in Libya
A Call for Urgent Humanitarian Assistance
In the wake of Storm Daniel, Libya is witnessing a catastrophe of unprecedented proportions. The storm caused severe flooding, leading to a disastrous humanitarian crisis. The eastern Libyan city of Derna, in particular, was hit hardest by the floods due to the collapse of two dams. The resulting flood wave destroyed a quarter of the city, claimed many lives, displaced thousands, and left a considerable number of people missing.
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) has responded to this crisis by providing SEK 15 million to support life-saving activities. This includes the provision of food, medical supplies, and other essential emergency items. The primary focus currently is on saving lives, distributing emergency items, and offering psychosocial support.
The Devastating Impact of the Floods
The floods have had a significant impact on several eastern Libyan cities, with the destruction being most severe in Derna. The flooding has claimed many lives, with approximately 10,000 people reported missing and 43,000 people forced to flee their homes. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that a total of 884,000 people are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance in the affected areas.
The delivery of emergency supplies presents a significant challenge due to the destruction of roads and bridges. There are also concerns about the risk of disease outbreaks due to the lack of clean water and food, and the displacement of explosive remnants of war by the floods.
The Role of Sida and ICRC in the Crisis Response
Sida has allocated SEK 15 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to swiftly respond to the urgent needs in Libya. The ICRC is working on rescue operations, managing dead bodies, and ensuring access to health services, emergency items, and medicines in cooperation with the Libyan Red Crescent. An additional SEK 2.475 million is being allocated to Action Against Hunger to provide drinking water, sanitation and hygiene articles, assistance for displaced people, and mental health and psychosocial support.
Sida’s Director of Humanitarian Assistance, Jakob Wernerman, has highlighted the tragedy as
a stark reminder of the severe consequences of natural disasters, especially when they impact communities that are already vulnerable due to weak infrastructure, inadequate maintenance, low preparedness, and political instability.
Proactive Measures and Future Preparation
The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, a partner of Sida, has seconded an environmental expert to the EU team that is leading needs assessments. Sida annually provides unallocated funds to humanitarian partners which can be used to respond to sudden or severely deteriorating crises, enabling a faster and more flexible humanitarian response.
As the global climate crisis exacerbates extreme weather events, nations must be prepared to respond to such disasters promptly and effectively. The situation in Libya serves as a crucial reminder of the need for robust infrastructure, maintenance, and preparedness measures, particularly in regions already grappling with political instability and conflict.
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