Flooding in Libya | Photo: EPA/SABRI ELMHEDWI
Flooding in Libya | Photo: EPA/SABRI ELMHEDWI

More than 2,500 people have fled their homes in southwest Libya following devastating floods caused by heavy rains that began in late May, according to the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR. Four people have died in the flooding.

The floods happened in the town of Ghat, about 1,300 kilometers southwest of Tripoli. The rains started on May 28. 

The rain and subsequent floods have thusfar claimed the lives of four people, while thirty more were injured, UNHCR said in a statement. 

The refugee agency said it is rushing aid to the area. 

Infrastructure hit by rains 

UNHCR said that many people have been forced to move in with relatives, while others are sheltering in schools and other community structures.

The refugee agency said that rising floodwaters have caused severe damage. Several main roads are reportedly blocked and damaged, and Ghat's only hospital has been flooded. The telecommunications network has been disrupted for days, and in some areas, houses and crops have been destroyed. 

UNHCR said people reliant on their farmland as their sole source of income are set to face major challenges. 

All 20,000 of Ghat's inhabitants are now in urgent need of humanitarian support including shelter, food and basic items, UNHCR said. 

UNHCR provides aid with partners 

The UN agency said it has dispatched core relief items for an initial 400 families, including family tents, mattresses, blankets, drinkable water, kitchen sets, solar lanterns, plastic sheets and clothes. Its local partner LibAid will receive the relief items and organize distributions to the affected population. 

UNHCR said further rainfall, albeit of reduced intensity, is expected in the coming days, worsening the challenges and risks. 

 

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