The port city of Derna was devastated by massive floods on Sept. 10. Libya, 2023 © MSF

Floods in Libya

Since floods lashed eastern Libya more than a week ago, estimated figures are that nearly 10,000 people are missing and at least 5,000 people are dead. Derna, a port city in eastern Libya, was the worst hit after two dams burst killing thousands. According to the UN, about 30,000 people — one third of its population — were displaced by the flooding.

A Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) team arrived the evening of Sept. 13 from Misrata to Tobruk, in eastern Libya. They reached Derna on Sept. 14 by road, despite the challenging conditions – Derna has been split in two, east and west, by the floods.

MSF is in close contact with the Libyan Red Crescent and is donating critically needed items, including:

  • 400 body bags for the deceased
  • 200 medical kits to treat people who were wounded (disinfectants, compresses, sutures, bandages)
  • 250 survivor care kits (gloves, antibiotics, dressing, surgical masks)

According to our information and observations, local solidarity and community support has already kicked in as usual in this kind of disaster. Given the scale of the destruction, we expect medical facilities to have been damaged and anticipate potential needs in restoring access to healthcare for people in the area or those displaced by the disaster.

Our proposal presented to the Libyan Ministry of Health has been approved. MSF teams will support two primary healthcare centres on both sides of Derna – one the east side of the city, the other one on the west. We will also support another health centre and focus on chronic diseases as well as mental healthcare. Our teams will also run mobile clinics providing mental healthcare as well as water and sanitation services in sites where people who are displaced by the disaster are staying. Our water and sanitation specialists will also do a comprehensive assessment together with other organizations.