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Massive Devastation in Derna, Libya After Storm Daniel Triggers Dam Collapse

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

In the aftermath of an unparalleled storm, the city of Derna situated in Libya's eastern province of Cyrenaica, stares into the face of unimaginable tragedy. Torrential rains triggered by Storm Daniel resulted in the catastrophic collapse of two dams, unleashing floodwaters that have left devastation in their wake. The death toll hovers around 5,000 with thousands more still unaccounted for. The final looming figure is feared to be much higher.

The calamitous situation is further complicated by the cutoff of crucial access routes to the town and a communication network in shambles. Despite ongoing efforts towards restoration, Derna remains isolated. With rescue services unable to reach the population, the locals resort to using molecular means to recover bodies, many of which have had to be buried en masse.

Osama Ali, spokesman for Libya's "Emergency and Rescue Service" under the internationally-recognized government in Tripoli, reported that the floods had been accountable for over 2,300 deaths in Derna and approximately 7,000 injuries, also mentioning that more than 5,000 individuals are currently missing.

Amid mounting adversities, as early as Tuesday, bodies that had been carried away by the floodwaters began washing up on the shores. The sea, a distinctive muddy hue, presents a grim first-hand account of the rising death toll, which an official of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) expects to climb into the thousands, with 10,000 still unaccounted for.

Storm Daniel marks the worst natural disaster to hit the eastern province of Cyrenaica since the devastating earthquake in 1963. Despite being pummeled by the tempest, aid is trickling in with people both in Libya and abroad rallying to assist in the rescue and relief efforts.

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