By Gift Briton

The death of more than 100 Libyan health workers in the aftermath of Storm Daniel has paralyzed the country’s health system adding to the disruption caused by over a decade of conflict.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the loss of these workers has added a heavy blow to the country’s health system, with primary healthcare facilities throughout the country facing acute shortages of staff, medicines, equipment and medical technologies due to these incidences.

Around mid-September, a storm system called Storm Daniel hit parts of the central and eastern Mediterranean, leading to devastating flooding and massive loss of life in several countries with Libya being one of the most affected countries.

Among the 4,333 people who have been confirmed dead following the storm, 101 of them are health workers, with more than 8,500 others still reported missing.

Dr Ahmed Zouiten, WHO Representative in Libya, paid tribute to the health workers who were killed in the floods: “WHO stands with the people of Libya in mourning the loss of so many dedicated health workers. These 101 doctors, nurses and paramedics who lost their lives are not only missed by their families and loved ones; the whole community is affected by their departure and certainly the health sector in eastern Libya and beyond will be hit hard.”

WHO is working closely with the local and national health authorities to find immediate solutions to ensure that affected people in the worst-hit areas have access to health services.

More broadly, WHO is leading efforts to rehabilitate and strengthen Libya’s health system, by restoring functionality in affected health facilities through the deployment of health workers from less-affected municipalities and the dispatch of medicines, medical supplies and equipment.

Dr Zouiten remarked that these efforts are a fitting way to remember the health workers killed in the floods adding that: “WHO will honour their memory by pursuing efforts to restore health care and continue their legacy in serving the vulnerable, saving lives and keeping the community safe.”