What Africa leaders are doing about the Libya disaster-Africa CDC

The Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an update of steps taken by leaders in the continent, to mitigate the effects of the disaster in parts of Libya.

The agency has also pledged to deploy a team of medical experts and allocated USD5 million for the acquisition, and distribution of medical supplies.

This comes days after North-eastern Libya was ravaged by Storm Daniel, a catastrophic event that unleashed torrential rains and flash floods on September 10, claiming 11, 300 lives so far.

“Based on these in-depth consultations, His Excellency Dr. Kaseya has concurred with the deployment of a team of public health experts and the allocation of $5 million USD for the acquisition and distribution of medications, medical equipment, and health-related supplies.”

“This initiative aligns with the cooperative effort spearheaded by the African Union to respond promptly to the Government of Libya’s critical appeal for aid.”

The decision to send aid to the north-African country was reached at after a mutual agreement that Libya urgently requires medications, medical equipment, and other health supplies, in addition to deploying a team of experts to assist with on-ground response efforts, Africa CDC says.

In a statement on Sunday, September 17 morning, Africa CDC says it held a meeting with Africa Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki three days ago, to come up with a response plan.

“Building on this directive, H.E. Dr. Kaseya requested an audience and met with H.E. Moussa Faki, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, on September 14th. During this meeting, both leaders recognized the necessity of an integrated and comprehensive African Union response plan to address the urgent needs arising from this natural disaster,” the Africa CDC communique reads in part.

On September 15, Faki convened another meeting with AU Commissioners for environment and health and an aide of the Au Chairperson reportedly to ensure effective coordination of relief efforts.

“Throughout this period, Africa CDC has maintained constant communication with Libyan authorities, closely monitoring the unfolding situation and providing essential aid to alleviate the severe impact of the flooding,”

Africa CDC is a public health agency of the African Union, a body tasked with supporting the public health initiatives of member states as well as strengthening the capacity of health institutions to deal with disease threats.

On Saturday, the AU Commission Chair announced the deployment of experts from his team to support Libya in the ongoing response activities.

“The Chairperson will also deploy a multi-sectoral team of experts from the Departments of Agriculture, Rural Development, Sustainable Environment and Blue Economy, Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Department of Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) to further support the State of Libya in its ongoing response efforts.”

He has also urged stakeholders and all military, political, and social actors to put an immediate end to all hostilities.

“The Chairperson of the Commission solemnly recalls that there is no military solution to the Libyan crisis and that Libya's unity, peace, stability, and historic international status can only be regained by peaceful means,”

 According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), about 170 people have been killed outside of Derna due to the flooding.

Derna is the epicenter of the floods and was split into two after floodwaters swept through entire neighborhoods.

Over 10, 000 people have been reported missing in Derna alone.

More than 40,000 people have been displaced across northeastern Libya since the extreme rainfall brought by Storm Daniel, the UN says.

Experts say the storm’s impact was greatly exacerbated by a lethal confluence of factors including aging, crumbling infrastructure, inadequate warnings, and the effects of the accelerating climate crisis.