Roads to Derna closed as search team continue to look for over 10,000 missing people in the Libya floods, death toll rises to 11,300.

Libyan Authorities Block Derna Entry Amidst Flood Recovery Efforts

Libyan authorities took the decision to block civilian access to the city of Derna on Friday. This restriction was enforced to allow search teams to continue their efforts in locating more than 10,000 people who are still unaccounted for following the devastating floods.

City Evacuation and Restricted Access

Derna was in the process of being evacuated, permitting only search and rescue teams to enter. Salam al-Fergany, the director general of the Ambulance and Emergency Service in eastern Libya, made this announcement on Thursday night.

Catastrophic Flood Impact

After intense rainfall from Storm Daniel, two dams burst, resulting in catastrophic flooding. Massive waves, reaching 23 feet in height, swept away entire neighborhoods in Derna, leading to a substantial loss of life. The death toll had risen to 11,300 by Thursday, with an additional 10,100 people reported missing. Mayor Abdel-Moneim al-Ghaithi expressed concerns that the final count might reach 20,000, considering the number of neighborhoods that were obliterated.

Unprecedented Drift of Victims

Some victims of the floods were reported to have drifted as far as 100 kilometers away onto beaches. Mass graves outside Derna and nearby areas have been used for the burials of thousands of individuals affected by the disaster.

UN’s Critique on Disaster Management

The United Nations criticized the disaster management efforts, emphasizing that most of the deaths could have been prevented. The lack of a functioning meteorological service to issue timely warnings was identified as a major factor. Had warnings been issued, authorities could have initiated evacuations more effectively.

Ongoing Recovery Efforts

Search teams continue to comb through wrecked buildings in the city center, while divers explore the sea off Derna. Residents reported hearing loud explosions when the dams collapsed during the storm, leading to the devastating floodwaters that surged through the city, causing extensive damage.

Challenges Due to Ongoing Conflict

Years of chaos and conflict have resulted in dysfunctional government institutions in Libya. This has hampered disaster management and risk reduction efforts. The city of Derna is under the governance of Libya’s eastern administration, backed by military commander Khalifa Hiftar.