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Stretched medical aid agencies race to disaster zones in Libya and Morocco

BMJ 2023; 382 doi: (Published 18 September 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;382:p2131
  1. Luke Taylor
  1. Bogotá

International aid agencies have quickly reached areas affected by earthquakes in Morocco and flooding in Libya but the timing of the natural disasters is stretching their finances and capacities.

Morocco’s Atlas mountains were hit by a 6.8 magnitude earthquake on 8 September, killing at least 2900 and severely injuring many thousands more. Only three days later dams collapsed in eastern Libya, sending 30 million cubic metres of water through several cities, sweeping away entire neighbourhoods.

So far more than 11 300 people in the Libyan city of Derna have died, the Libyan Red Crescent said on 14 September. Another 10 000 are still missing, many having been dragged by the currents into the Mediterranean Sea.1

The immediate impacts of the two disasters are “death, injuries, fractures, shock, wounds, and mental health trauma,” according to international non-governmental organisation, MedGlobal.2 “However, the long term impact will be potentially worse, depriving patients with non-communicable diseases, children, and pregnant women of access to healthcare and drugs, interrupting the supply chain, and disrupting the already strained healthcare system.”

Despite the logistical challenges of …

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