Dutch experts heading to Libya to help in aftermath of massive floods; Thousands dead
Dutch IT professionals, logistics experts, and surveyors are heading to Libya to help the areas devastated by a storm and flood. Other EU countries are sending medical teams, shelters, and excavation equipment, among other things. Thousands are dead or missing.
Storm Daniel caused extensive damage, particularly in eastern Libya, on Monday. The wind and rain ravaged the coastal city of Derna so much that entire apartment buildings were swept away, leaving people buried in rubble and mud. The assistance and search for victims have barely gotten underway, and the country could use all the help it can get.
EU countries have been sending shelter supplies, generators, food, hospital tents, and water tanks since the scale of the disaster became apparent. The aid from Europe now includes Dutch experts, an Italian diving team, and a 53-member French team of healthcare providers, the European Commission reported. Italy is also sending two rescue helicopters and equipment to clear the rubble.
The extent of this tragedy is challenging to determine due to the complicated political situation in Libya. The government in the east of the country, where the disaster occurred, reported 5,300 fatalities on Wednesday and hasn’t given an update since, according to NOS. The government in the west reports 7,000 deaths. Many thousands of people are missing, and even more have been displaced.
Since the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, a power struggle has been raging in Libya between the internationally-recognized government in the west, and another government in the east, which seems to hold most of the power in the country.
Libya’s two rival governments are in contact with each other, and both are asking for international help, a United Nations official told the BBC. “The challenge now is the international community responding accordingly to the needs and requests of the governments,” the spokesperson said. Help needs to be scaled up “very, very quickly.”
The Dutch Red Cross set up Giro 7447 to raise money for the victims of the floods. Medical help is urgently needed, as are hygiene products, because contaminated water can lead to disease outbreaks.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times