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DRC Danish Refugee Council responds to the devastating storm and subsequent flooding in Northeast Libya

The deadly storm has taken thousands of lives and revealed pressing humanitarian needs, such as protection, water, sanitation, hygiene, and shelter.

Posted on 15 Sep 2023

On Monday, 11th September a violent storm with torrential rains unleashed a catastrophic flash flood that wreaked havoc in several cities across northeastern Libya. In the coastal city of Derna, home to 125,000 residents, two dams collapsed resulting in widespread destruction. At present there are more than 10’000 confirmed fatalities, and an estimated 30,000 people are still unaccounted for. 

This tragic event has revealed pressing humanitarian needs, including protection, health, water, sanitation, hygiene, and shelter. Additionally, concerns have arisen regarding the heightened risks of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) due to landmine migration caused by the flooding. 

DRC, Danish Refugee Council has a strong presence in both East and West of Libya, and with a large and long-standing presence in Benghazi, including projects in Derna. DRC is committed to targeting the most vulnerable communities and individuals affected by this disaster. Countless people have lost all their belongings, and some have lost family members, while others are still looking for missing relatives. 

We stand in solidarity with the affected communities and will work tirelessly to help them rebuild their lives and restore hope in the wake of this devastating natural disaster,” says DRC Head of Programmes Sonia Joly. 

DRC is ready to provide immediate relief with the distribution of 300 Hygiene Kits, 300 Dignity Kits, 300-400 Household Non-Food Item Kits, and 100-200 Baby Kits within the coming week. 

“We will significantly expand our efforts, adhering to the DRC Northeast Libya Flood Response Plan, which includes scaling up to deliver up to 5,000 Non-Food Item Kits and 5,000 Shelter Kits, says DRC Emergency Coordinator, Yaman Salam. 

DRC is deploying a multi-sector team of 20-25 experts from Benghazi to Derna. This dedicated team includes four trained paramedics to bolster medical efforts, a Mobile Protection Team equipped with Psychological First Aid (PFA) and Psychosocial Support (PSS) expertise to address essential needs and offer Individual Protection Assistance, Cash for Protection, and a Rapid Protection Assessment.  

Furthermore, an Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) and Risk Education (EORE) Mobile Team will be dispatched to provide information to affected individuals and humanitarian workers while conducting EOD assessments. Training is already planned next week for humanitarian organisations field teams.  

DRC expresses its deepest condolences to the people of Derna and reaffirms its unwavering commitment to providing immediate assistance and support during this difficult time.   

DRC in Libya DRC has been operational in Libya since 2011, providing protection services, shelter assistance, multi-purpose cash transfer (MPCT), Economic Recovery, WASH, and Humanitarian Disarmament and Peacebuilding including community safety, local peacebuilding, and Humanitarian Mine Action, to safeguard the dignity, safety, and wellbeing of Libya’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations, including migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), returnees, and host communities. DRC's has offices in both Benghazi and Tripoli, with a coordination office in Tunis, and in 2023 delivered programming in Benghazi, Derna, Tripoli and Zwara. 

For media inquiries, please contact:   

[email protected] or  +45 2811 6727  

Head of Programmes Sonia Joly and Emergency Coordinator Yaman Salam are available for interviews.  

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