While a preliminary final report, according to the Libyan Red Crescent, speaks of at least 11,000 deaths, Tamer Ramadan, head of the Red Cross’s relief operations, is not losing hope of finding survivors.
“Hope is there”
Tamer Ramadan of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is head of relief operations in Libya. During a press conference in Geneva, live from Cairo, he was optimistic.
The emergency services are particularly targeting the city of Derna, where entire blocks of houses were swept away by a seven-meter-high wall of water on the night from Sunday to Monday when two outdated dams suddenly gave way after torrential rain.
“There is still hope to find living people” said Tamer Ramadan of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies during a press conference in Geneva, live from Cairo.
The Libyan Red Crescent said the death toll currently stands at over 11,000 dead and more than 10,000 missing. For their part, local authorities report at least 3,800 deaths.
Very difficult rescue missions
Heavy rains and flooding have washed away much of the road infrastructure – roads and bridges – making access even more difficult. Not to mention that organizing aid is becoming more complex due to the chaotic political situation in the country.
Libya has effectively fallen into chaos since the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, with two rival governments, one recognized by the UN based in the capital Tripoli in the west, the other in the eastern region. affected by floods.
“I think the problem for us in Libya, of course, is coordinating our efforts with the government and then with other authorities in the east of the country,” said Martin Griffiths, U.N. emergency relief chief.
A solution for sea access
This is the solution proposed by the mayor of Derna to help the victims. If the solution is welcomed and “makes sense” to the UN, Martin Griffiths still insists that the best strategy is “that we do not favor one access route over the other”.
“It is important to continue by land or to find people who have fled from Derna to the south (…) and they will also need help”
The United Nations recalls that it has sent a team of around fifteen experts to coordinate humanitarian assistance from Morocco to Libya. However, he rejected an estimate of the number of deaths “that would be neither final nor precise.” Yesterday, the mayor of Derna estimated that the potential death toll could be around 20,000.