Mon, 02 Oct 2023

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The WHO estimates the disaster has affected 1.5-1.8 million people in Libya.

TRIPOLI, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Rescuers continued their relief operations on Thursday in eastern Libya despite the fading hope of finding more flood survivors.

After Mediterranean storm Daniel on Sunday triggered the largest and worst floods in decades, which have claimed at least 5,500 lives and left another 10,000 missing, the war-torn country has another enduring battle to fight in dealing with the natural disaster's aftermath.

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Ahmed Al-Mandhari, the regional director of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the Eastern Mediterranean, said that Libya is going through "an unprecedented humanitarian crisis" after the storm caused the largest and worst floods the country has suffered in the past century.

The WHO estimates the disaster has affected 1.5-1.8 million people in Libya.

Rescuers from Türkiye, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Malta are still working in the field with Libyan soldiers, staff from the Libyan Red Crescent and local teams in the eastern city of Derna, reported local media on Thursday.

More than 500 people have been rescued in Derna as of Thursday, said the reports.

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"Rescue and recovery operations are still continuing, and will take some time given the presence of thousands of missing people in many areas affected by the floods," said Saadeddin Abdul Wakil, undersecretary of the unity government's Health Ministry.

On top of the relief operations, local authorities have other challenges to tackle.

Abdul Rahim Maziq, head of the Health Emergency Committee in Al-Bayda, a city in northern Libya, warned on Thursday of water-borne diseases and contaminated water in floods-hit regions.

Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement on Thursday that floods may have carried explosive remnants of war from their previous locations to flooded areas.

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Xu Wei, spokesman for the China International Development Cooperation Agency, on Thursday sent condolences to Libya, voicing China's willingness to provide emergency humanitarian assistance according to the needs of the disaster-affected people.

The WHO will release 2 million U.S. dollars from its emergency fund to support the people affected by the floods in Libya, its director general said on Thursday.

Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Türkiye, Tunisia, Algeria, Italy, Britain, France and Germany, among other countries, have offered help after the heavy floods.

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