In Northeastern Libya, two dams collapsed due to heavy rainfall, causing further devastation in already flooded regions. Libya’s eastern government reported a death toll of at least 5,300 people, with approximately 10,000 individuals still missing.
Here’s everything we know about it, right from the statistics and victim toll to the available resources for aid.
Health Minister Othman Abduljalil disclosed that Derna, one of the hardest-hit cities, could have up to 6,000 missing persons. The dam collapses were accompanied by loud explosions, leading to flash floods in the city.
Hospitals in Derna are no longer operational, and mortuaries are overwhelmed with the deceased. Due to the sheer number of casualties, bodies had to be placed on pavements outside the mortuaries.
Videos circulated on social media depicting submerged cars, collapsed buildings, and torrents of water flowing through the streets. Derna became completely cut off from the outside world after the aging dams failed. The continuous rainfall was a result of the remnants of Storm Daniel, a powerful low-pressure system. Assistance from outside took over 36 hours to reach Derna. Aid and rescue teams from Egypt, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates arrived in Benghazi on September 12 to provide support.
Tamer Ramadan, Libya’s envoy for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, anticipates a much higher casualty count, possibly in the thousands. Over 40,000 people have been displaced, and 10,000 individuals remain missing. Although, Libya’s National Meteorological Centre issued early warnings for Storm Daniel, an “extreme weather event,” 72 hours before its occurrence. Climate scientist Karsten Haustein suggested that Storm Daniel brought a deluge of 440 millimeters of rain to eastern Libya in a short span, potentially overwhelming the neglected infrastructure in Derna.
Storm Daniel wreaked havoc in Greece before evolving into a tropical-like cyclone referred to as a “medicane” in the Mediterranean.
This condensed version provides a concise overview of the tragic event in Libya and its consequences.