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The UN estimates that 300,000 children are affected by the floods in Libya

The UN humanitarian coordinator for Libya, Georgette Gagnon, stated this Monday that at least 300,000 children were affected by the floods in the northeast of the country, highlighting that the priority is to reopen schools.

Gagnon explained that one of the agency’s top priorities currently is reopening schools so children can return to a normal life.

However, many of these infrastructures are being used as shelters for displaced families, who must first find accommodation, he stressed.

The coordinator, who recently traveled to Derna, highlighted this Monday, at a press conference, that what she saw in the city was “little understandable“.

There were parts of the city that were almost unrecognizable and those areas were now completely empty,” Gagnon said.

Regarding the number of deaths, the coordinator was more conservative than the local authorities, and declared that the figure confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO) 4,000 dead and at least 5,000 missing are approaching.

The Libyan authorities, for their part, put the death toll at around 11,000 people and the missing at 10,000.

Gagnon recalled the UN’s appeal to the international community to donate 71.4 million dollars (about 66.7 million euros) to help in the reconstruction and rescue efforts, although he warned that there is increasingly less chance of finding people alive in the rubble.

The political divide further complicates rescue and reconstruction efforts in this country of seven million people, embroiled in more than a decade of conflict since the NATO-backed Arab Spring uprising toppled autocratic ruler Moammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Two opposing authorities share executive power: the Government of National Unity (GNU) and the Government of Benghazi, elected by Parliament and under the control of Haftar, led by Osama Hammad.

Gagnon assured that he is in constant contact with Libyan leaders from different parts of the country and called on local authorities to make a greater effort to coordinate their response to the tragedy.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya also warned this Monday of a disease outbreak in the country, which could create “a second devastating crisis“, and there are already reports about the spread of diarrhea.

In a statement, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya said it was particularly concerned about water contamination and a lack of sanitation after two barrages broke during the Mediterranean storm Daniel, which sent a wall of water to the eastern city of Derna, on 11 of September.

Also this Monday, UNESCO expressed concern about the state of the ruins of Cyrene, an ancient Greco-Roman city located about 60 kilometers east of Derna.

Cyrene is one of five UNESCO World Heritage sites in Libya.

Source: Observadora

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