Attention turns to health risks after Libya, Morocco disasters

By Laureen Fagan - 13 September 2023 at 11:00 pm
Attention turns to health risks after Libya, Morocco disasters

In Libya, officials are focusing on health concerns following the catastrophic flooding at the weekend in Derna and other northern coastal communities.

“In the wake of the floods, as the death toll rises, health needs have become more urgent,” said the World Health Organization in Libya. “There are at least three large hospitals out of service in Derna while other hospitals are only partially functioning.”

WHO staff shared sobering images of the recovered bodies awaiting burial on the sidewalk, even as many of the dead already have been buried in mass graves after identification. A new death toll of 6,900 was reported on Wednesday, with some officials warning that the death toll could be in the tens of thousands.

The Libyan Ministry of Health is considering a temporary evacuation of all residents from Derna due to the potential for cholera and other health impacts, and the lack of services and adequate burial facilities for the flood victims. Video images from Derna show bodies washed out to sea now returning, scattered at the shoreline.

The government is sending 45 specialists to handle and bury bodies, according to a Libya Al-Ahrar report.

Similar concerns have humanitarian aid workers busy in Morocco, where the death toll is approaching 3,000 following a 6.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the region late last Friday. Safe drinking water and other supplies were on the way to the region near Marrakesh, where concern is growing over the possibility of disease outbreak.


Laureen Fagan

Laureen Fagan

Laureen is the editor of Africa Times

Laureen is a freelance journalist creating high-quality, informed content on international affairs, politics and technology. She has worked both in and out of newsrooms since 2000. She is a former paramedic with significant experience in community resilience and nonprofit community development initiatives, and maintains "a passion for action" on sustainability and climate change. She also is trained in conflict resolution and diversity, and has special interests in science and medical reporting, and culture and religion issues. Laureen received her MSJ from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in the United States, and completed additional graduate study in theology at University of Notre Dame. Follow Laureen on Mastodon at

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