Amid escalating concerns over the harrowing flood impact in Derna, the United Kingdom has stepped up its commitment to Libya, vowing increased humanitarian assistance.
The UK has allocated an immediate £1 million in humanitarian relief for the beleaguered nation.
“It’s not just Libya bearing the brunt of this disaster, but every one of us, especially the families directly affected,” remarked Lord Ahmed, the UK’s Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, in a conversation with Al Arabiya TV Channel.
Detailing the UK’s intensified relief efforts, Lord Ahmed mentioned the recent surge in funds pledged. Collaborative actions with major entities, like the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) and key UN agencies, have been set in motion. Primary focus areas include essential life-saving equipment, food, water purification, housing, and hygiene.
Benghazi recently received a flight loaded with these indispensable supplies. Given the dire medical circumstances on the ground, a specialized team from the UK, in conjunction with UK Med, is deployed to appraise the healthcare necessities.
In addition to this, Lord Ahmed disclosed a supplementary £10 million funding from the UK. This sum is not only to address Libya’s urgent needs, but also the earthquake aftermath in Morocco.
He highlighted collaborations with global bodies like the United Nations, pointing specifically to the significant £52 million contribution by the UK to the UN’s humanitarian fund (CERF). In a swift response, the UN has allocated £10 million from these funds to assist Libya.
When probed about amplifying the funding, Lord Ahmed emphasized the ongoing evaluations by teams in Libya. He advocated for a unified approach and mutual cooperation among all entities in Libya. This is to guarantee effective and prompt humanitarian assistance delivery.
Lord Ahmed acknowledged the complex situation in Libya, highlighting the UK’s ongoing efforts to support reconciliation initiatives .
He emphasized the importance of coordination, given the multifaceted nature of the crisis and the existing challenges in Libya “Coordination is key and, in that regard, there is an appeal for all sides and Libya to work together because this is in the service of humanity the people of Libya need us all.”
Lord Ahmed also touched on the threat of disease spreading in Libya, and the UK’s role in preventing such a disaster, stressing the need for immediate assessments and coordination with various agencies, including UN agencies, to ensure a concerted effort in addressing this issue.
“The first and foremost thing is trying to recover survivors,” Lord Ahmed said.
He shared his experience on the ground during his recent visit to Libya. “I’ve been on the ground; I mean, it really shakes you to the core,” he said.
Regarding the challenges in Derna, in eastern Libya, Lord Ahmed spoke about the logistical difficulties in accessing the area, and the fragility of the situation on the ground. “Different people, different parties controlling different elements of those groups, and our appeal to them is a simple one: whatever your motive, whatever your instincts, the main instinct should be the service of humanity.”
When asked about the UK’s engagement in Libya, considering the absence of a single government, he explained that the UK works with various perspectives, and mainly engages with the President and Prime Minister of Libya.
As for speculation about the maintenance of certain dams being the leading cause of the deadly flood, he said that the UK “had not yet concluded what caused the flood, or who was to blame.”
In the meantime, Lord Ahmed hopes that the government will learn an important lesson from this disaster.
“Sometimes it takes a disaster of this kind of unimaginable terms to pull the country together. One hopes that those who are on the ground realize their responsibility,” he explained.
“The UK’s priority is to ensure that all humanitarian and medical