Floods in Libya: At least 2,000 dead, thousands missing as Storm Daniel breaks dams and washes away homes


About 2,000 people have died and thousands are missing as Storm Daniel dumped heavy rains on northeastern Libya, collapsing two dams and sending water into already flooded areas.

Othman Abdul Jalil, the health minister of Libya’s eastern parliament-backed government, toured the worst-hit city of Derna on Monday, describing parts of it as a “ghost town”.

“The situation [in Derna] It was devastating… bodies are still lying in many places,” Abduljalil told Libya’s Almazar TV.

“Families are still trapped inside their houses, there are victims under the rubble… I expect people have been swept out to sea and tomorrow (Tuesday) morning, we will find many of them,” he said.

Ali al-Saadi/Reuters

Aerial view of floodwaters that hit the city of Shahad, Libya on September 11, 2023 due to a powerful storm and heavy rain.

Up to 6,000 people are missing from Terna, but this is only one area affected by the floods, which have spread to several towns in the country’s northeast bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

There are fears that aid efforts could be hampered by political rifts in a country that has seen years of power struggles between one in the east and two rival administrations in the west.

These rains are the result of a very strong low pressure area A catastrophic flood for Greece It moved into the Mediterranean before developing into a tropical cyclone last week Medicine. Weather systems are tropical storms in the Atlantic and typhoons or hurricanes in the Pacific.

On Monday, the Libyan Red Crescent Society estimated that more than 300 people had died in Derna. Mail On social media.

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Ahmed Mismari, spokesman for the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), said two dams collapsed under the pressure of the flood.

As a result, three bridges were destroyed. The flowing water carried away entire neighborhoods and eventually they went into the sea,” he said.

Government of Libya/AB

Cars and debris flood a street in Derna, Libya, Monday, September 11, 2023, after heavy rain.

The head of Libya’s Emergency and Ambulance Authority, Osama Ali, told CNN that after the dam collapsed “all the water went into the coastal area, a hilly area near Terna.”

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Houses in valleys were washed away by strong mud currents that carried away vehicles and garbage, he said. Telephone lines in the city were also down, complicating rescue efforts, Ali said, adding that workers were unable to enter Terna due to the heavy destruction.

Ali said authorities did not expect the scale of the disaster.

“Weather conditions, sea water levels and precipitation are not well studied [were not studied]”The wind speed is not evacuating families who may be in the path of the storm and in the valleys,” Ali said.

Mehmet Mehmet Kshim/Anatolu Agency/Getty Images

Floods caused by heavy rains in Misrata, Libya on September 10, 2023 damaged residences, vehicles and workplaces.

“Libya is not prepared for a disaster. It has never experienced a disaster of that magnitude. This is the first time we have faced a disaster of that magnitude, but we admit that there are shortcomings,” Ali al-Hurrah told the channel earlier.

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LNA spokesman Mizmari said the floods affected several cities, including Al-Bayda, Al-Marj, Tobruk, Daganis, Al-Bayada and Bata, as well as the east coast as far as Benghazi.

Libya, home to six million people, has been divided between warring factions since 2014, following a NATO-backed uprising against Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

A political standoff still exists between rival administrations in the eastern city of Benghazi and the western capital of Tripoli. The UN-backed Government of National Unity (GNU), led by Abdulhamid Dibibe, sits in the capital, while its eastern rival supports an east-based parliament led by Commander Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army (LNA). Osama Hamad.

Terna, located about 300 kilometers (190 miles) east of Benghazi, falls under the control of Haftar and his eastern administration.

Hamad described the situation as “catastrophic and unprecedented,” according to a report by state news agency Libyan News Agency (LANA).

Footage shared on social media showed submerged cars, collapsed buildings and water running down streets.

Hospitals in Beida’s eastern city of Beida were evacuated after severe flooding caused by rain from a heavy storm, videos shared on Facebook by Beida’s medical center showed.

Omar Jarman/Reuters

People stand on a road damaged by a powerful storm and heavy rains that hit the city of Shahad, Libya on September 11, 2023.

“The United Nations in Libya is closely monitoring the emergency caused by severe weather in the eastern part of the country,” the United Nations Support Mission in Libya said in a post on X.

Many countries have sent their condolences and offered aid to Libya as rescue teams struggle to find survivors under the rubble and rubble.

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Turkey’s Emergency Management Agency (AFAD) said on Tuesday that a Turkish plane delivering humanitarian aid had arrived in Libya.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the country would send 168 search and rescue teams and humanitarian aid to Benghazi, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Tuesday.

The U.S. Embassy in Libya said on X, formally known as Twitter, that it was “in close contact with the United Nations and authorities in Libya to determine how quickly we can help where it is most needed.”

The president of the United Arab Emirates, Saeed Al Nahyan, has ordered the dispatch of aid and search and rescue teams while offering his condolences to the victims of the disaster, the state news agency said.

The Guide/Anatolu Agency/Getty Images

A view of the devastation in the disaster zones after the floods caused by storm Daniel in Derna, Libya, on September 11, 2023.

Egyptian President Abdel-Battah El-Sisi also expressed his condolences to Libya. “I wish the wounded a speedy recovery and I hope the crisis will pass soon with Libyans standing together,” El-Sisi said in a statement on social media.

The weather system is expected to slowly move eastwards towards northern Egypt. Rainfall will reach 50mm over the next two days – the average for the region is less than 10mm for the whole of September.

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