UK South West charity team assisting international relief efforts
The international disaster relief charity, ShelterBox, is assisting the international relief effort for people affected by the recent flood in Libya.
The city of Derna is one of the worst-hit areas after dams outside the city collapsed unleashing a torrent of water that’s washed away entire neighbourhoods.
More than 40,000 people are internally displaced across northeast Libya according to the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC).
It’s feared the death toll could reach 20,000 with at least 11,000 people known to have died. The Libyan Red Crescent says more than 10,000 people are still missing.
‘Many people are gathered in school buildings because they no longer have a home to go back to and they are likely to be there for some time,” says Haroon Altaf, ShelterBox’s Regional director for Asia, Middle East and North Africa.
‘That’s where we’re going to focus our efforts and we’re looking at what support is needed – it could be blankets, gas stoves, or kitchen sets.’
Getting aid into countries and on to where it’s needed after a disaster of this scale can be difficult, especially with damage to infrastructure and supply routes.
Access to Libya for foreign nationals is challenging too, so to provide support to people affected by the flooding ShelterBox is partnering with ACTED, an international aid organisation that was already working in Derna before Storm Daniel.
‘Neighbourhoods washed away’
A ShelterBox response team is being deployed to neighbouring Tunisia to meet with ACTED to confirm what is needed and what aid they’ll provide together.
‘What’s happened here is harrowing, whole neighbourhoods have been washed away, and we’re doing what we can to provide support to people bearing the brunt of this disaster.’
Many areas remain inaccessible because of significant damage to the road network, buildings, electricity, and communication lines.
There are growing concerns of potential disease outbreaks and with relatively few aid organisations working in Libya the humanitarian need is likely to increase over time.
ShelterBox has partnered with ACTED in Nigeria in 2021 and also in Moldova in 2022. In 2011, ShelterBox it partnered with the ACTED and the Libyan Red Crescent Society to deliver aid to people affected by civil unrest.
As well as having an assessment team in Morocco following the recent earthquake, ShelterBox is still supporting people affected by earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.
It’s also supporting people displaced by extreme weather events, like monsoon flooding in Pakistan and drought in East Africa, and conflict in Ukraine, Yemen, Syria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Chad, and Mozambique.
The charity believes it can have the most impact for communities by staying flexible. Its approach means its warehouses are in a state of readiness to help people impacted by extreme weather, conflict and climate crises around the world.