Tragedy Strikes Eastern Libya as Storm Daniel Causes Massive Flooding
Eastern Libya is reeling from a catastrophic flooding disaster as more than 2,000 people are feared dead following the ravages of Storm Daniel. Prime Minister Ossama Hamad of the region has issued a somber statement, acknowledging the dire situation.
Devastation in Derna
The epicenter of this tragedy is the city of Derna, which is currently under the control of Islamic extremists. Ossama Hamad expressed grave concerns about the fate of thousands of residents in Derna, where the confirmed death toll has not been officially reported due to inaccessibility. The recorded death toll from the weekend flooding, excluding Derna, stood at 61 as of late Monday, as reported by health authorities.
Footage circulating online vividly illustrates the extent of the disaster, with homes being swept away by floodwaters and substantial buildings partially collapsing into the mud. The sheer force of the flooding has left a trail of devastation in its wake.
Prime Minister’s Assessment
In a phone interview with al-Masar television station, Prime Minister Hamad disclosed that over 2,000 individuals are feared dead in Derna, and the number of missing residents is estimated to be in the thousands. Derna has been declared a disaster zone, reflecting the magnitude of the calamity. Entire neighborhoods have reportedly vanished, their inhabitants tragically carried away by the overwhelming floodwaters.
Ahmed al-Mosmari, a spokesperson for the country’s eastern-based armed forces, held a news conference in which he confirmed that the death toll in Derna had surpassed 2,000, and the number of missing persons ranged from 5,000 to 6,000. He attributed the disaster to the collapse of two nearby dams, which triggered a deadly flash flood.
The devastation is not limited to Derna. Reports indicate that at least 46 people lost their lives in the eastern town of Bayda, while another seven fatalities were reported in the coastal town of Susa in northeastern Libya, according to the Ambulance and Emergency Authority.
Challenges Amidst Political Divisions
Libya, already beset by political divisions between the east and west, faces an additional challenge as public services have deteriorated since the 2011 Nato-backed uprising that sparked years of conflict. The internationally recognized government in Tripoli lacks control over eastern regions, further complicating the response to this disaster.
The United Nations in Libya has been closely monitoring the situation and has pledged to “provide urgent relief assistance in support of response efforts at local and national levels.” The international community is rallying to assist Libya in the face of this devastating natural disaster.