WASHINGTON–U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.), Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism, on Thursday released the following statement in support of humanitarian access to areas of Libya affected by catastrophic storms.
“We are distressed by the continuing reports out of Libya that thousands of lives have been lost due to catastrophic floods, with thousands more still missing. In Derna, we are particularly concerned by the failure of critical infrastructure that has challenged both the rescue and recovery efforts and hindered a full assessment of the extent of this disaster.
“We are heartened by early reports of humanitarian aid deliveries from Tripoli to eastern Libya, and support the emergency funding provided by the United States to relief organizations working on the ground. The United States has regularly called for free and fair elections in Libya to allow the Libyan people to chart the course of their own future and hold their leaders accountable. All parties to this conflict must provide full, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access to Derna and other affected cities and regions of eastern Libya. We oppose any effort to restrict or politicize the delivery of aid to Libyans who desperately need support.”
Eastern Libya remains under the control of Khalifa Haftar, whose Libyan National Army (LNA) attempted to seize the capital, Tripoli, in April 2019. The Government of National Unity is based in Tripoli and seeks to maintain control over Western Libya.
On September 10, 2023, Mediterranean storm Daniel devasted Eastern Libya, causing extreme flooding in Derna and surrounding areas. More than 6,000 people have died with thousands more still missing.