Aid organisations urge for end to mass graves following flooding in Libya

The World Health Organization and various aid organizations jointly issued a plea on Friday, urging Libyan authorities to halt the practice of burying flood victims in mass graves as a U.N. report that revealed over 1,000 individuals had been interred in this manner since the onset of the flooding crisis in the country.

A deluge resulting from the collapse of two dams on Sunday night swept away entire districts of Derna, an eastern Libyan city. The catastrophe has led to the loss of thousands of lives, with thousands more still unaccounted for.

“We urge authorities in communities touched by tragedy to not rush forward with mass burials or mass cremations,” said Dr Kazunobu Kojima, medical officer for biosafety and biosecurity in WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, in a joint statement sent out by the U.N. health agency with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The statement advocated for more organized burials in clearly marked and documented individual graves, emphasizing that hurried burials can result in enduring mental anguish for family members and give rise to social and legal complications.

According to a U.N. report released on Thursday, more than 1,000 bodies in Derna and over 100 bodies in Albayda were interred in mass graves following the floods that occurred on September 11th.

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