UAE Continues Aid to Flood-Hit Libya

The UAE has so far sent 17 planes carrying 450 tonnes of food supplies, shelter materials, health packages and first aid kits…reports Asian Lite News

The UAE continues sending humanitarian and relief aid and search and rescue teams to Libya to alleviate the repercussions of Storm Daniel through an airbridge in implementation of the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Since the launch of the airbridge on 12th September, the UAE has so far sent 17 planes carrying 450 tonnes of food supplies, shelter materials, health packages and first aid kits. The assistance were distributed in the areas most affected by the disaster, especially eastern Libya.

The Emirati efforts also included sending search and rescue teams with modern equipments that support carrying out difficult tasks, as the total number of search and rescue team personnel who began their missions in the disaster-stricken areas reached 96 individuals.

The team members are equipped with four search and rescue helicopters, vehicles equipped for rescue team tasks, and recovery cruisers to pick up bodies and search for survivors, sonar devices for underwater and thermal searches, a mobile power station and generators which were shipped from the UAE through the airbridge.

The airbridge also included sending a medical team equipped with ambulances.

The Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) team, currently present in eastern Libya, is also delivering aid to the affected people, in addition to assessing field conditions and studying the current actual needs to provide more of them through the ongoing airbridge.

The UAE airbridge is part of the UAE’s ongoing relief efforts to support Libya and reflects its humanitarian vision to alleviate the dire humanitarian situation being witnessed by the Libyans as a result of Storm Daniel.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has amended the previous death toll from Libya floods, stating that at least 3,958 people have died instead of 11,300 as was earlier reported by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), CNN reported.

According to the revised report updated on Sunday morning from the OCHA, the UN has now pegged the toll at 3,958, citing the World Health Organization (WHO).

As per the updated report, over 9000 people are still missing, according to CNN.

However, the OCHA, in its previous report, said at least 11,300 people died in Derna due to devastating flooding, citing the Libyan Red Crescent figures for Saturday’s report, according to CNN.

Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, told CNN on Sunday, “We’re going with figures just verified by WHO.”

However, earlier, the Libyan Red Crescent Society told CNN that it never released the high death figure tolls to the UN from the flooding in Derna. 

On why the UN cited the death toll incorrectly, Haq said, “In a lot of different tragedies we end up revising our numbers. So that’s just what’s happening here.”

He added, “Standard procedure is we work with different parties trying to make sure our numbers are cross-checked. Whenever we do these revisions it’s because our numbers are being cross-checked.”

The deputy spokesperson said the death toll figures are fluid and “can go upward or downward.”

Moreover, on Derna’s seafront, where the aftermath of the disaster is evident, rescue teams were working tirelessly to clear the way for further relief efforts. A helicopter scanned the sea for bodies, and diggers strove to remove obstacles obstructing rescue operations.

In Derna, which has an estimated population of at least 120,000, entire districts were swept away or buried in brown mud after two dams south of the city broke, releasing torrents of floodwater down a usually dry riverbed.

The UN’s humanitarian affairs office said it had initiated an appeal for USD 71 million to aid those affected by the disaster. The World Health Organization has also taken action, flying in emergency aid to reach nearly 2,50,000 people in eastern Libya, providing essential medicines, surgery supplies, and body bags.

Saudi Arabia and Russia have contributed aid flights, including mobile hospitals, while an Italian naval ship arrived in Derna with supplies such as tents, blankets, water pumps, and tractors.

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