U.S. Africa Command flew in several tons of aid to Libya this week after disastrous floods ravaged the country’s northeastern region, defense officials said.
The Air Force’s 86th Airlift Wing took part in a C-130 airlift mission to Benghazi that sent 13 metric tons of supplies to Libya. Libya was hit by Storm Daniel on Sept. 10 that caused severe winds and sudden, heavy rainfall. The Libyan Red Crescent believes 11,000 people died in the floods, and 10,100 people are still missing nearly two weeks later.
AFRICOM commander Gen. Michael Langley and U.S. Special Envoy for Libya Richard Norland flew along on the C-130 delivering the aid.
“We commend the unity demonstrated by Libyans from all regions of the country as they come together to aid those in need,” Langley said in a statement. “The United States stands ready to reinforce existing bonds and forge new partnerships with those who champion democracy, in pursuit of a safer, more prosperous Libya.”
Libya is ruled by two different factions, only one of which is recognized by the international community, but the two governments have largely cooperated on facilitating delivery of aid.
The U.S. Agency for International Development provided blankets, hygiene supplies, water containers and plastic sheeting for shelter from its warehouse in Dubai for the mission. Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said the supplies were distributed to the International Organization for Migration and other relief agencies.
The flood came as Libya’s warring factions had reached an uneasy peace after more than a decade of conflict, according to the Council of Foreign Relations. In 2011, U.S. forces conducted airstrikes against then-President Moummar Qaddafi, who’d threatened to murder dissidents in an attempt to put down civil war. After Qaddafi was ousted and killed, a power struggle ensued between the UN-backed government and the faction in the east, led by Gen. Khalifa Haftar.
Zamone “Z” Perez is a rapid response reporter and podcast producer at Defense News and Military Times. He previously worked at Foreign Policy and Ufahamu Africa. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he researched international ethics and atrocity prevention in his thesis. He can be found on Twitter @zamoneperez.