Officials warned Monday that a disease outbreak in Libya’s northeast, where floods have killed thousands, could create “a second devastating crisis” as adults and children fell ill from contaminated water.
In a statement, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya said it was particularly concerned about water contamination and the lack of sanitation after two dams collapsed during Mediterranean storm Daniel, sending a wall of water gushing through the eastern city of Derna on Sept. 11. The death toll has varied, with government officials and aid agencies giving tallies ranging from about 4,000 to 11,000 dead.
Nine U.N. agencies responding to the disaster are working to prevent diseases from taking hold and creating another crisis in the devasted country, which is receiving 28 tons (25 metric tonnes) of medical supplies from the World Health Organization, the mission said.
Haider al-Saeih, head of Libya’s Center for Combating Diseases, said in televised comments Saturday that at least 150 people — 55 of them children — suffered diarrhea after drinking contaminated water in Derna.