Local relief workers in Derna city in Libya are racing against time to rescue thousands of missing people following the devastating hurricane that struck the city last Sunday. Little aid was delivered to the damaged city, which is struggling between a civil war funded by several parties, and international failure to provide aid.
World powers and top officials were concerned with issuing statements than sending aid and making rescue efforts. The European Union and NATO, which mobilised collectively for military intervention in Libya in order to secure their interests in Libya, acted indifferently to the humanitarian crisis and did not take any action regarding the tragedy.
The streets of Derna are filled with bodies, the sea is still dumping dozens of them, and the number of workers burying these bodies is not enough, nor the number of bags to cover them, and the basic supplies given to survivors isn’t adequate at all.
The current situation warns of a catastrophic plague and horrific health epidemics, while the Western countries are still waiting to coordinate with the conflicting governments to provide assistance, which was not the case when they decided their militarily intervention in the past.
According to the mayor of Derna, the number of victims exceeded 20,000, and all victims are in dire need of support, basic health services and life-saving interventions. The victims are at increased risk of water-borne diseases and other diseases that spread in similar circumstances. The floods destroyed the infrastructure and public facilities, disrupted roads, and cut off electricity and means of communication.
This disaster could have been much less if the successive regimes and governments in Libya and the countries supporting them maintained the dams and maintained a good infrastructure to protect people’s lives and property.
According to the World Meteorological Organisation of the United Nations, “most of the casualties could have been avoided,” especially since a Libyan study revealed that there is “a disaster surrounding the city, due to poor maintenance of dams.”
Researchers have clearly called on officials to repair these dams since last year, however those calls were not met by the officials who were preoccupied with internal conflicts, division, and chaos for more than a decade, which made emergency response efforts so futile.
While condoling the families of the victims and wishing safety and recovery for the injured, Arab Organisation for Human Rights in UK calls on international institutions and European countries to take a swift action to save those affected, control the dilapidated humanitarian situation, and bear responsibility for rebuilding the stricken cities as quickly as possible.