A staggering 101 health workers in Libya lost their lives during Storm Daniel or in its immediate aftermath. Some were killed at home, others in the line of duty. Families and coworkers have described their anguish and feelings of helplessness at seeing their relatives, friends and colleagues swept away by the sheer force of the floods.
The deceased health workers are among the 4333 people thus far confirmed dead following the storm. More than 8500 people are still missing.
Dr Ahmed Zouiten, WHO Representative in Libya, paid tribute to the health workers who were killed in the floods: “WHO stands with the people of Libya in mourning the loss of so many dedicated health workers. These 101 doctors, nurses and paramedics who lost their lives are not only missed by their families and loved ones; the whole community is affected by their departure and certainly the health sector in eastern Libya and beyond will be hit hard.”
Even before Storm Daniel struck the country, Libya’s health system had been badly disrupted by more than a decade of conflict. Primary health care facilities throughout the country still face acute shortages of staff, medicines, equipment and medical technologies. The loss of the 101 health workers in eastern Libya is an additional heavy blow.
WHO is working closely with the local and national health authorities to find immediate solutions to ensure that affected people in the worst-hit areas have access to health services. More broadly, WHO is leading efforts to rehabilitate and strengthen Libya’s health system, by restoring functionality in affected health facilities through the deployment of health workers from less-affected municipalities and the dispatch of medicines, medical supplies and equipment.
Dr Zouiten remarked that these efforts are a fitting way to remember the health workers killed in the floods. “WHO will honour their memory by pursuing efforts to restore health care and continue their legacy in serving the vulnerable, saving lives and keeping the community safe,” he said.
Find out more about WHO’s response to the Libyan flood disaster.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization – Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean.