UK government announces ‘up to £1m’ worth of support for flood-hit Libya

The UK government has announced support of “up to £1m” for Libya after thousands of people died in floods in the east of the country.

The Foreign Office said the funding was a “start-up package” to help those hardest hit by the disaster.

Britain is working with organizations on the ground to identify the most urgent needs, including housing, healthcare and sanitation, and “stands ready” to provide further support, it said.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter: “It is shocking to see the scale of loss and destruction caused by the floods in Libya.

“We are working to provide immediate assistance to the Libyan people, including initial funding to support the international relief effort.”

Foreign Secretary James Cleverley said: “The UK is committed to supporting Libya following this devastating flooding.

“The funding announced today will provide life-saving assistance to those most affected by the floods, including women and children and those displaced from their homes.

“We will continue to work closely with the UN and the Libyan authorities on any further support that may be needed.”

The Foreign Office said the UK package was “worth up to £1m in life-saving aid” and that Middle East Secretary Lord Ahmad had spoken to the head of Libya's Presidential Council, Dr Mohamed Menfi, to express his condolences and Britain's commitment to supporting Libya going forward.

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The death toll from the floods, which hit the coastal city of Derna and other parts of eastern Libya, has exceeded 5,000 and is expected to rise further.

Authorities are scrambling to send support to the region, where thousands remain missing and tens of thousands are homeless.

Aid workers who managed to reach the city, which was cut off on Sunday night when floods swept away most access roads, described devastation in its center, where search and rescue teams combed shattered apartment buildings for bodies.

Local health officials believe the death toll is likely to rise as search and rescue teams continue to pull bodies from roads, buildings and the sea.

Libya's neighbors Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia, as well as Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, have sent rescue teams and humanitarian aid.

US President Joe Biden also announced emergency funds for aid organizations and coordination with Libyan authorities and the UN to provide additional support.