UN warns of disease threat in flood-hit Libya

UN agencies have warned that Libya’s flood-stricken city of Derna, where thousands were killed a week ago, faces the threat of disease outbreaks that could bring “a second devastating crisis”. According to international media reports, the massive flash flood that is estimated to have killed over 11,000 people and left more than 10,000 missing came as the war-scarred North African country was lashed by hurricane-strength Storm Daniel on September 10. Traumatised residents, 30,000 of whom are now homeless, badly need clean water, food and basic supplies amid a growing risk of cholera, diarrhoea, dehydration and malnutrition, UN agencies warned on Monday. “Teams from nine UN agencies have been on the ground delivering aid and support to those affected by Storm Daniel and the flash flooding for the last few days,” said the UN Support Mission in Libya. But it warned that local officials, aid agencies and the World Health Organization “are concerned about the risk of disease outbreak, particularly from contaminated water and the lack of sanitation”. “The team continues to work to prevent diseases from taking hold and causing a second devastating crisis in the area,” UNSMIL said in a statement. Rapidly rising waters burst two upstream river dams in Derna, sending a late-night tidal wave crashing through the centre of the coastal city of 100,000 that swept entire residential blocks into the Mediterranean.