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Libya: lack of a unified crisis management hinders international aid, says Presidential Council

September 25, 2023 at 11:28 am

An aerial view of devastation after the floods in Derna, Libya on September 18, 2023. [Halil Fidan – Anadolu Agency]

Libya’s Presidential Council said on Sunday that the lack of a “unified crisis management system” in the country has disrupted international aid efforts related to the flood disaster that struck the east of the country on 10 September.

“International support for those affected by the flood disaster that struck eastern Libya requires the gaining of the trust of the victims and the need for a specialised and unified Libyan institution,” wrote Council head Mohamed Al-Menfi on X. “The authorities elected according to a permanent constitution are the ones who have control over the frozen Libyan funds.”

This message was repeated by Al-Menfi’s deputy, Abdullah Al-Lafi, during his meeting with the Chargé d’Affaires of the Greek Embassy to Libya, Agapios Kalognomis.

Al-Menfi did not explain the reason for his social media posts, but a dispute began a few days ago over who would manage the international financial aid provided to the country to mitigate the effects of the flooding.

WATCH: Libya says devastating floods kill 2,300 in Derna

There are two competing governments in Libya. One was appointed by the House of Representatives and is headed by Osama Hammad; the other is the Government of National Unity (GNU) headed by Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, who refuses to hand over power to any other government but one appointed by a new, elected parliament.

With the absence of a permanent constitution, the parties to the Libyan conflict are conducting negotiations to launch presidential and parliamentary elections on a temporary constitutional basis, while international efforts are underway to achieve the same purpose.

“The scale of the disaster is huge,” said Al-Lafi. “This makes the efforts of local and international rescue teams difficult, especially in light of the lack of a unified crisis management system.”

As of Saturday evening, more than 70 relief aircraft from 24 countries and eight ships had arrived in Libya to assist those affected by the floods, according to the GNU’s emergency team. On Sunday, a committee affiliated with the government appointed by parliament announced that the death toll from Storm Daniel had risen to 3,868. This figure is similar to that announced by the World Health Organisation on 16 September, which put the death toll at 3,958 people, with more than 9,000 others listed as missing.

READ: WHO responds to Libya’s flood disaster with focus on health care access and disease prevention