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Today’s Top News: Libya, Morocco

Earlier today, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, spoke to reporters in Geneva on the two devastating disasters that took place back-to-back in Morocco and Libya. Mr. Griffiths said that, while the true level of destruction and devastation is yet to be known, the UN and its partners have been fully mobilized to provide swift assistance to the affected population and to support the authorities’ relief efforts.

In Libya, the climate and capacity have collided to cause the tragedy we see, he said.  Some 900,000 are affected by the floods in a country where already 300,000 people needed humanitarian assistance prior to this disaster. The floods pose significant health risks, including contaminated water sources and potential disease outbreaks.  Families were left with nothing. They need to find food, shelter, health care and cash to meet their basic needs.

We need to get the right aid to the right people at the right time and therefore coordination is crucial, said Mr. Griffiths. The UN, already present in the country, mobilized additional assistance at the onset of the disaster. A UN disaster assessment and coordination team has been deployed and we have set up a coordination hub in Benghazi. The $71.4 million flash appeal, launched yesterday, aims to support 250,000 people for the next three months. In parallel, the UN is conducting further assessments to collect more accurate data and an inter-agency team has been deployed to the eastern region, including some already in Derna and other affected areas.

On Morocco, Mr. Griffiths noted that the country has a distinguished history of building up and investing in its own response capacities, as well as the incredible generosity of local organizations and volunteers from across the country. The Moroccan Government has mobilized tremendous resources to respond to the earthquake, pulling survivors from the rubble, providing medical care and distributing essential aid. Mr. Griffiths reiterated that the United Nations stands ready to support the immediate and longer-term national efforts, including on coordination.

Source: OCHA