Floods in Libya and fears of thousands being killed

Over the past two days, Storm Daniel has hit eastern Libya. However, no one expected that the wind and rain would actually overwhelm Cyrenaica. The epicenter of the disaster is Derna, a center of 100,000 people overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, is now under three meters of water. Daniel’s anger caused the collapse of the dams built along the Valley River that flows from the nearby mountains into the city. 33 million cubic meters of water suddenly poured into the latter, causing unprecedented floods and submerging streets and buildings. Entire neighborhoods have disappeared. Even the ruins of ancient Cyrene will “sink.” However, it is impossible to make an accurate assessment of the disaster, given the difficulty of accessing the area, which is disputed between two rival administrations and held hostage by different armed militias.

The Red Crescent remained cautious and reported hundreds of deaths, about 250 people. According to the Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed government in eastern Libya, Osama Hamad, there will be at least 250 dead. Two thousand casualties while more than a thousand people were reported missing.

Floods in Libya – Reuters

Derna is just one of the many affected areas: it extends from Benghazi to Sousse, and from Al-Marri to Al-Bayda. According to the spokesman for the Libyan National Army, Ahmed Al-Mismari, the total number of those fleeing alone will approach six thousand. Meanwhile, the four main oil ports – Ras Lanuf, Zueitina, Brega and Sidra – were closed to avoid damage. Hamad’s government, supported by the Libyan National Army led by General Khalifa Haftar, is not recognized internationally. This complicates rescue operations. Through council member Ahmed Amdour, the municipality called for “urgent” international intervention to “save us,” as well as opening a sea corridor to help residents.

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Meanwhile, the Eastern Parliament declared two official holidays, with the exception of essential sectors. The “rival” government of Abdul Hamid Dabaiba, based in Tripoli, responded by declaring three days of mourning and promising to compensate all those affected by the floods. Tripoli also announced the sending of 50 ambulances and 75 doctors to Derna and a convoy to reinforce rural clinics. The head of the Public Services Company in Tripoli, Muhammad Ismail, sent dozens of excavators to assist in the rescue operations.

Floods in Libya – Reuters

However, moving on the terrain and reaching your destination is not easy. It is in its interest for Al-Dabaiba to gain recognition from the Central Bank of Libya, from which the funds allocated to local administrations come. The United Nations confirmed its support for Cyrenaica through the United Nations Support Mission in Libya. While the first to mobilize from abroad were Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria and Qatar. Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said he was in close contact with Libyan authorities “to evaluate what kind of assistance will be sent immediately” and stressed that no Italians were involved. According to experts, Storm Daniel is considered an “extreme phenomenon due to the amount of water falling.” A type of event that is becoming increasingly frequent due to global warming. In recent days, it has struck Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria, killing 27 people. On Sunday, it reached Cyrenaica with winds of 180 kilometers per hour and rainfall ranging between 50 and 250 cubic millimeters. Something never seen before. At least for now.

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