By Sami Zaptia.
London, 5 June 2019:
The wave of heavy rainfall and thunderstorm that hit the south western Ghat region of Libya has led to four reported deaths, 2,500 displaced and affected 20,000 people, the UN Tripoli Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports.
The four deaths included three children and 30 people suffered minor injuries.
It said that the rainfall commenced on the 28 May 2019 and intensified on the 2 June severely affecting the municipality of Ghat and some surrounding regions. The report said that the rainfall and thunderstorms are expected to continue but decreasing in intensity in the coming days. The water levels have not receded and vary between 0.5 to 2 meters depending on the area.
Meanwhile, the municipality has activated the Emergency Committee consisting of local authorities, police and the Libyan Red Crescent.
The report says most of the displaced families are hosted with relatives or sheltered in three school.
Severe damage to infrastructure and farmland vital for livelihoods were reported. Ghat hospital was partially flooded and service provision has been affected. The official exams for elementary and middle school scheduled for next week have been postponed. The report said that there is a risk of running out of fuel and domestic commodities due to the infrastructure damage. The airport remains operational.
The Emergency Committee reported displaced persons in remote locations who might need temporary accommodation, but numbers are still to be confirmed. Based on the magnitude of damage, they estimate that IDPs will be able to gradually return home within a month’s time.
The OCHA report says that based on the Emergency Committee evaluation of the situation, the immediate needs include temporary shelter; non-food items, including: mattresses; food supplies, as well as nutritional supplies for infants; hygiene kits along with cleaning materials; and health care for the flood affected population. Rubber boats to support evacuation efforts are also needed while the waters are still high.
The local police with the support of the Libyan Red Crescent are carrying out search and rescue operations of those trapped by the flooding.
The report says that food stocks are sufficient for 2,000 affected families, which could be delivered in a three days’ timeframe, provided no access challenges are encountered. The distribution of core relief items to an estimated 400 displaced families are underway.
A mobile clinic from Sebha is being prepared for relocation to Ghat to support the Hospital delivery of health services. A team of doctors and nurses from Sebha is also available to reinforce the provision of health care in the affected areas. Medical supplies are available and ready for positioning. The surveillance and Rapid Response Teams in Sabha and Ghat have been mobilized and activated to minimize the likelihood of disease outbreaks, the report said.
It will be recalled that Ghat has been declared a disaster zone by the Tripoli Faiez Serraj government which on Tuesday allocated LD 10 million to deal with the effects of the flooding.
The internationally unrecognized eastern-based Interim Government, on the other hand, announced Tuesday that it is sending trucks carrying emergency relief items expected to arrive on Wednesday.
The convoy will contain foodstuffs (basic food commodities), medical supplies and fuel, with other deliveries expected to follow.
Other individuals, NGOs, towns and cities have also been collecting funds and needed items which are on their way to the area. It will be recalled that Ghat lies some 1,300 km south west of Tripoli on the Algerian border.