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Devastating Floods in Libya: Tragic Toll Revealed as Thousands Feared Dead

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

The death toll in Libya as a result of catastrophic flash floods induced by storm Daniel has exceeded 5,300, with a further 10,000 individuals feared missing. The African nation endured the storm's wrath on Sunday evening with torrential rainfall inducing flash floods of dire proportions. Unbeknownst to the residents, the worst was still to come as the tempest wreaked havoc on two dams situated along the Wadi Derna river, resulting in a destructive all-consuming wall of water.

The worst of the storm's impacts was felt in the port city of Derna, home to 90,000 inhabitants. Residents reported the floods as having "vanished everything" that lay in its trajectory, leaving a once-thriving city in ruins. In Derna alone, the death toll exceeds 5,300, as reported by a government spokesperson, with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) indicating the possibility of yet many more casualties.

The ongoing impact on basic necessities and access to health facilities, food, and shelter has been identified as significant challenges in the disaster-stricken regions. The devastation extends to humanitarian workers as well, with three Libyan Red Crescent volunteers having succumbed to the disaster while working to save affected families.

A glimmer of hope emerges as Libyan Prime Minister, Abdul Hamid al-Dbeibeh announces the allocation of a staggering 2 billion Libyan dinars ($412 million) to a reconstruction fund designed to bolster the cities of Derna and Benghazi.

As rescue efforts continue, the city of Derna remains largely submerged, with bodies still littered across various sections of the city, according to Libya's health minister, Othman Abdul Jalil. Amidst dashed infrastructure and inaccessible areas, calls for international aid ring out against the backdrop of what has been deemed a "catastrophic" unfolding disaster.

The calamity is another blow to a nation beleaguered by conflict and political disarray over the past decade. Despite numerous discussions on infrastructure development, Derna, heavily impacted by the floods, has been neglected for years, an issue that has manifested in the current crisis.

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