UW Combined Fund Drive

September 12, 2023

Catastrophic flooding in Libya: How you can help

Overturned cars lay among other debris caused by flash floods in Derna, eastern Libya, on September 11, 2023. AFP/Getty Images

In the second major natural disaster to hit northern Africa in the past few days, over 5,000 people are believed to have died and more than 10,000 are missing after serious flooding in Libya.

The death toll is certain to rise as more confirmed reports come in.  

The coastal city of Derna–approximately midway between the Libyan capital of Tripoli and Cairo in Egypt–was the most heavily impacted after floodwaters breached two catchment dams and swept away up to a quarter of the city in a disaster reminiscent of New Orleans’ flooding after Hurricane Katrina.  

UWCFD disaster relief page

Storm Daniel, an intense cyclone with tropical characteristics of a type often termed a “medicane,” had previously impacted other nations in the eastern Mediterranean including Greece and Turkey. However, Libya, a war-torn nation with two rival governments claiming power, was particularly ill-prepared for a storm of this magnitude. One climate expert estimated the rains in Libya from the storm alone at more than three feet.  

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The devastation is immense with bodies left scattered in streets, buildings buckled and roads blocked. International aid organizations are working to get help to those who need it most, although the damaged infrastructure in hampering these efforts.  

The affected region is in dire need of medical and other disaster relief supplies

Many international UWCFD nonprofit organizations have begun mobilizing their response teams. 

Consider making a one-time gift or setting up monthly payroll deduction through the UWCFD to one of our member organizations actively responding to the crisis:

Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) (charity code 0315935): Every day, Doctors Without Borders teams deliver emergency medical aid to people in crisis, with humanitarian projects in more than 70 countries.

International Red Cross International Services (charity code 0338058) helps vulnerable individuals and communities around the world to prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters, complex humanitarian emergencies, and life-threatening health conditions.

UNICEF USA‘s (charity code 0315489) UNICEF is reaching children and families with emergency supplies after Storm Daniel swamped northeastern Libya, collapsing dams and washing away entire villages.

CARE (charity code 0315522): CARE’s Rapid Response Team is deploying experts who will provide food, temporary shelter, and vital supplies to those affected by the flooding.

Project Hope (charity code 0316050): Project HOPE is a global health and humanitarian aid organization that connects healthcare providers to communities around the world to address immediate and long-term health needs. Through its global emergency response teams, the organization is providing medical supplies and aid to communities in Libya.

International Medical Corps (charity code 1479246): Our in-country team is assessing the situation, and already is responding by focusing on such immediate needs as shelter, mobile health services, and water, sanitation and hygiene.

Save the Children (charity code 0315475): has teams on the ground supporting earthquake victims and assessing the impact of lost homes, buildings, and essential infrastructure. The organization will primarily provide affected children with access to food, shelter, and warm clothing.

OXFAM (charity code 0316360) Oxfam is a global organization that fights inequality to end poverty and injustice. We offer lifesaving support in times of crisis and advocate for economic justice, gender equality, and climate action. 

Consume information wisely and research organizations before you donate

Misinformation spreads quickly during mass tragedies: To stay informed, follow and rely on firsthand sources, including local journalists and reporters in the area, and avoid sharing information that has not been verified.

All UWCFD-member nonprofit organizations are vetted by the Washington Secretary of State Office, so you can rest assured your contributions will be directed where you intend. For a non-UWCFD organization, you may want to do some research to make sure it is reputable. Sites like Charity Navigator and Guidestar grade nonprofits based on transparency and effectiveness.