Catastrophic Flooding Devastates Libyan City, Leaving Thousands Missing

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A Grim Assessment

A senior official who recently visited the eastern port city of Derna in Libya has reported a staggering death toll of over 1,000 people due to catastrophic floods. The city, home to approximately 100,000 residents, is reeling from the devastation caused by the collapse of two dams and four bridges, leaving much of it submerged.

Widespread Devastation

The catastrophe is a result of Storm Daniel, which struck on Sunday and has also impacted other eastern cities in Libya, including Benghazi, Soussa, and Al-Marj. Buildings have crumbled, and the cityscape has transformed dramatically.

A Soaring Number of Missing Persons

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Libya has estimated that the death toll could be “huge,” with reports of up to 10,000 people missing in the aftermath of the flooding. According to Tamer Ramadan, the head of IFRC in Libya, definitive figures remain elusive as assessment teams continue their work.

The Chaos of a Fragmented Nation

Libya’s political turmoil since the overthrow and death of former leader Col Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 has left the country divided, with two rival governments—one in Tripoli and another in the east. This fragmentation has hampered swift and efficient responses to natural disasters. The absence of dedicated rescue teams and trained personnel further complicates rescue efforts.

International Aid Efforts Underway

Despite these challenges, international aid is mobilizing. The Tripoli-based administration dispatched a plane carrying 14 tons of medical supplies, body bags, and over 80 medical professionals. The US special envoy to Libya, Richard Norton, has announced US aid in coordination with UN partners and Libyan authorities. Other nations, including Egypt, Germany, Iran, Italy, Qatar, and Turkey, have also pledged or initiated aid efforts to alleviate the crisis.

The devastating flooding in Derna underscores the urgent need for unity and comprehensive disaster preparedness in a nation already grappling with complex political divisions. The extent of the damage and loss of life reveals the dire consequences of a fragmented response system in times of crisis.

SOURCE: Ref Image from The Libya Observer

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