Libya's Derna Combines Vaccination Rollout with Ongoing Flood
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Libya’s Derna Combines Vaccination Rollout with Ongoing Flood Rescue Missions

One week after Libya’s flood disaster in the eastern region, survivors are grappling with fresh challenges. 

Torrential rains led to the collapse of two dams, causing widespread destruction. Now, the risk of disease outbreaks looms large, prompting urgent action from local and international bodies.

Libya’s Flood Raises Health Concerns

The United Nations warned on Monday that local officials, aid agencies, and the World Health Organization are deeply concerned about potential disease outbreaks. 

Contaminated water and poor sanitation are the main culprits. In response, the health minister of eastern Libya, Othman Abdeljalil, announced a vaccination drive in the flood-hit city of Derna on Sunday, September 17.

“The vaccination campaign serves dual purposes,” Abdeljalil said. “Firstly, it aims to protect frontline workers from infection. Secondly, it reassures citizens that we are actively managing the crisis.” Priority will be given to rescue workers, healthcare staff, and children.

UN highlights urgent needs

The UN has highlighted the desperate need for clean water, food, and basic supplies. Risks of cholera, diarrhoea, dehydration, and malnutrition are escalating among traumatised residents.

Also, aid and emergency response teams have been dispatched from various countries, including France, Greece, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. Search efforts continue, but the situation remains dire.

Mohannad Edris al-Oukili, director of the ambulance and emergency service, mentioned the difficulty in counting casualties due to the overwhelming situation. Meanwhile, the health minister confirmed a death toll of 3,338 in Derna as of late Monday, September 18.

Furthermore, the United Nations called for more than $71 million in aid to address the crisis.


Q: What caused Libya’s flood disaster?

A: Torrential rains led to the collapse of two dams in eastern Libya.

Q: Who is at risk of disease outbreaks?

A: Residents in the flood-hit areas, particularly in the city of Derna, are at high risk.

Q: What is being done to help?

A: A vaccination drive has been launched, and international aid has been dispatched.

Q: How many people have died?

A: Conflicting reports exist, but the health minister of eastern Libya confirmed 3,338 deaths in Derna.

Q: What is the UN’s role?

A: The United Nations has launched an aid appeal for more than $71 million to help manage the crisis.

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