Over 3,000 People Feared Dead, 10,000 Missing, City Wiped Out  In Libya Flood

libya flood

LAGOS SEPTEMBER 12TH (NEWSRANGERS)-At least 3,000 people are feared dead and another 10,000 missing in Libya after a storm in the Mediterranean caused dams to burst — washing entire coastal neighborhoods out to sea.

Storm Daniel pounded the North African country Sunday night, unleashing heavy rainfall that caused flash flooding. But the major destruction would come hours later, when two dams located on the Wadi Derna river burst, creating a wall of water that destroyed everything in its path. The greatest devastation was seen in the port city of Derna, which is home to 90,000 people.

The flooding “erased everything” in its way, Ahmed Abdalla, a resident of Derna, told the Independent.

The latest

Current estimates suggest that 30,000 people have been displaced from the weekend’s severe floods.

A government minister from Derna confirmed to Reuters that more than 1,000 bodies had been recovered in that city alone. An official from the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said that the death toll is “huge” and “might reach thousands.”

“The challenges are ranging between access to basic health facilities for health services, shelter and shelter management, food and non-food items,” Tamer Ramadan, the leader of the IFRC in Libya, said.

IFRC CEO Jagan Chapagain said Tuesday that three volunteers with the Libyan Red Crescent had died while attempting to save families that had been affected, Sky News reported.

Meanwhile, Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid al-Dbeibeh announced that the government was to allocate 2 billion Libyan dinars ($412 million) to a reconstruction fund for the cities of Derna and Benghazi.

What it’s like on the ground

According to Libya’s health minister, Othman Abdul Jalil, the situation in Derna is “catastrophic.”

“The bodies are still lying on the ground in many parts [of Derna],” Jalil said. “Hospitals are filled with bodies. And there are areas we have yet to reach.” He went on to ask for international help.

Much of the city remains underwater after two dams burst and four bridges collapsed. Civil aviation minister and member of Libya’s emergency committee Hisham Chkiouat described the flooding as a “tsunami,” the BBC reported.

The cities of Al-Marj, Benghazi and Soussa were also affected. Pictures from Libya show streets completely eradicated, cars overturned and roads collapsed.

“I returned from Derna. … It is very disastrous,” Chkiouat told Reuters. “Bodies are lying everywhere — in the sea, in the valleys, under the buildings. I am not exaggerating when I say that 25% of the city has disappeared.”

Crumbling city

Libyans have endured more than a decade of conflict and political chaos. Derna, the city worst affected, was once controlled by Islamic extremists and had been neglected for years. Jalel Harchaoui, an associate fellow specializing in Libya at the London-based Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies, told the Associated Press that local authorities had often discussed developing Derna but nothing ever came of it. “Even the maintenance aspect was simply absent,” Harchaoui said. “Everything kept being delayed.”

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Posted by on Sep 12 2023. Filed under International, National. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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