The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has expressed deep concern over the healthcare situation in Libya.
He added that WHO is “actively collaborating with local authorities to ensure that the population can access essential health services, including crucial psychosocial support, despite ongoing challenges.”
Libya has faced numerous challenges in recent years, including conflict and political instability. These have significantly impacted its healthcare infrastructure.
He stressed that WHO is “committed to working closely with Libyan officials to address these challenges, and provide vital support to the population.”
One of the key areas of focus for WHO is strengthening the disease early warning system. This initiative aims to enhance the country’s ability to detect early signs of potential water or food-borne diseases, and other health threats.
On 10 September, a devastating storm swept through several eastern regions of Libya, notably the cities of Derna, Benghazi, Al-Bayda, Al-Marj, and Sousse. This resulted in significant destruction and led to the loss of thousands of lives, injuries, and missing individuals.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres has called a flood that killed thousands in Derna, Libya a “symbol of the world’s ills.”
“Even as we speak now, bodies are washing ashore from the same Mediterranean sea where billionaires sunbathe on their super yachts,” Guterres said in the opening of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly.
“Derna is a sad snapshot of the state of our world – the flood of inequity, of injustice, of inability to confront the challenges in our midst,” he added.
Notably, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), revealed that the recent floods in northeastern Libya, have forced an estimated 43,059 individuals to flee their homes.
In a recent report, the IOM said the scarcity of water supply has been a driving factor behind the displacement of many residents from Derna. This shift has contributed to a decrease in the overall number of displaced individuals, within Derna itself.
As the situation develops, more displaced individuals are relocating to nearby cities, such as Tobruk, where approximately 1,320 people have sought refuge. Benghazi has also seen an influx, with around 730 seeking shelter there. The majority of these are being hosted by relatives and extended families.
According to the IOM, field observers have reported that displaced families from Derna are also seeking refuge in Tripoli, Misrata, Gharyan, and Qasr bin Ghasheer. Many of them are temporarily staying with host families, who have opened their doors to provide shelter.