Responding to the Flooding in Libya

by International Medical Corps
Responding to the Flooding in Libya

Project Report | May 16, 2024
Helping Libya Recover From Devastating Floods

By Michael Hall | Senior Advisor

Humanitarian needs have persisted in northeast Libya due to the collapse of two dams upstream from the coastal city of Derna after Storm Daniel struck the area in September.

The floods led to the displacement of nearly 45,000 people. A portion of these internally displaced persons (IDPs) still reside in precarious conditions, giving rise to heightened protection risks and increased vulnerabilities. Flooded areas required immediate attention to address the pressing issues of obtaining drinking water and restoring water-and-sewage infrastructure. Urgent measures continue to be necessary, including the installation of extra water pumps for boreholes and the cleaning of sewage pipes. The existing water treatment plants are inadequate to purify the contaminated water. International Medical Corps carried out WASH assessments in various locations in the eastern region, including Albayda, Benghazi, Derna, Shahat and Tokra, in November 2023 that identified the pressing need to rehabilitate water-supply and sanitation infrastructure in health facilities.

Existing limited capabilities in hospitals and primary healthcare (PHC) facilities— characterized by shortages in medications and staff, infrastructure damage and insufficient equipment—have been exacerbated by the disaster. International Medical Corps’ medical mobile teams have identified significant shortages in both skilled personnel and essential medical resources in the PHCs in Benghazi during a rapid needs assessment in December 2023.

The demand for mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services is on the rise within affected communities. The national MHPSS hotline, backed by International Medical Corps, is witnessing increased calls reporting various concerns including overwhelming stress, persistent low moods, disrupted sleep patterns and heightened anxiety. These issues predominantly arise from the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the recovery from the disaster.

International Medical Corps Response

International Medical Corps focuses on providing a full range of services in Libya, including health, MHPSS, gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and response, non-food items (NFIs), and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

Health As of January 11, International Medical Corps has deployed 11 Type 1 Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs) strategically distributed among three fixed locations and eight mobile units. We operate two of the fixed EMTs at PHCs in Derna and one at the General Hospital of Sousa. Our teams have so far completed 13,287 outpatient consultations (7,857 women, 5,430 men) in the flood-affected areas and areas affected by IDP movement.

In Benghazi, a medical mobile team conducted a rapid needs assessment at the Algowarsha PHC and Alrajma PHC, which are experiencing critical shortages of qualified staff and essential medical supplies. The Benghazi team has been providing essential health services at these locations since December 31. Additionally, to address needs in Derna—particularly the scarcity of qualified staff in reproductive health services— International Medical Corps has deployed an additional mobile team. This team, comprising a nurse and medical doctors specialized in reproductive health, will supplement existing services and ensure the effective delivery of essential health services in the region.

In Misrata, two of our mobile teams provide emergency and essential health services. They are addressing prevalent health conditions, including hypertension and upper respiratory tract infections, across eight health facilities and two IDP settlements. We also have a specialized mobile team at the Shuhada Algurgof PHC in Derna.

In response to the evacuation and relocation of IDPs, our mobile team in Albayda has shifted its health services from Belgrai Hospital, which was previously an IDP settlement, to three other clinics.

In early January, International Medical Corps dispatched three mobile teams, to Albayda, Tobruk and Tokra, tasked with addressing critical issues such as staff shortages and insufficient medical supplies at health facilities. The teams conduct swift needs assessments and support IDP settlements, working in close coordination with local health authorities to help remote populations facing accessibility challenges.

Since the start of our response to the flooding, International Medical Corps’ community health workers have conducted 1,016 awareness sessions, engaging 2,405 participants (1,370 females, 1,035 males) from affected communities in different locations. Topics include personal hygiene, post-traumatic symptoms, national vaccination protocols and school health. Communities have responded positively and expressed interest in broader health subjects and mental health issues related to child behavior. The mobile team at the Shuhada Algurgof PHC facility in Derna provided general consultations and conducted three health educational sessions at schools, reaching 172 people, including children, parents and teachers. Topics covered included bronchial asthma, personal hygiene, the difference between Influenza A and COVID-19, and information on the new COVID variant.

International Medical Corps also remains committed to aiding the national helpline by providing mental health counselors. Since the hotline's inception, our counselors have managed 2,826 calls, delivering MHPSS consultations to 268 of them (the remaining calls primarily involved inquiries about available services, which our staff were able to support with referrals as needed). The MHPSS sessions covered various components such as psychological first aid (PFA), stress management, counseling, emotional support and psychoeducation. Notably, 65% of the callers were women and 35% were men. Half the callers originated from directly impacted regions, including Derna, Al Bayda and Benghazi. The remaining callers consisted of IDPs situated in and around Tripoli. We have maintained close coordination with the national MHPSS committee in the east to expand our MHPSS services and ensure that they complement our health services and meet local needs.

In the Alsahil area, International Medical Crops delivered 360,000 liters of water by water trucks to flood-affected communities in Derna, benefiting 120 families. We also continued to monitor water quality at the sources, as well as the trucks that deliver the water to affected communities, testing 40 water trucks so far. Each truck carries 12,000 liters. International Medical Corps has installed three 5,000-liter bladder tanks at the Al-Fatayeh Health facility, Alsahil and Wast Al-Balad area in Derna, to increase the capacity of safe water storage. Additionally, we are preparing to install four water bladder tanks at communities in Derna as community water distribution points, and eight water bladder tanks at health facilities in Tobruk to increase the capacity of safe water storage. International Medical Corps has distributed 1,300 hygiene kits to people suffering from acute watery diarrhea (AWD) and waterborne diseases in Derna and Sousa. Our team also provided 13,800 bottles of 7-liter packaged drinking water to 6,900 people in Derna, and plans to purchase 18,000 6-liter bottles of drinking water for distribution in the city. As part of hygiene awareness campaigns, International Medical Corps’ hygiene promotion team has conducted 169 sessions that have reached 460 people (88 girls, 157 boys, 86 women, 129 men) in Dar Alslam, Abu Raheel and Sousa. The sessions covered such topics as causes, symptoms and prevention of AWD, handwashing, safe water storage and water treatment.

Since the start of our response, International Medical Corps GBV teams have continued to provide awareness-raising and group psychosocial support activities in Benghazi, Derna and Misrata, engaging 228 women and girls from communities affected by the flood. The sessions addressed various topics, focusing on the psychosocial health and well-being of women and girls, and prioritizing the practice of positive and healthy coping mechanisms.

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Jan 17, 2024
Responding to the Devastating Floods in Libya

By Michael Hall | Senior Advisor

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Organization Information

International Medical Corps

Location: Los Angeles, CA - USA
Project Leader:
Michael Hall
Los Angeles , CA United States
$1,618 raised of $100,000 goal
12 donations
$98,382 to go
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