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Why Libya’s Derna drowned – The tragic account of bad weather Daniel

The floods caused by storm Daniel in eastern Libya destroyed part of the city of Dernacost the lives of thousands of people and the number of missing is incalculable.

What happened

By Sunday afternoon, the storm had arrived at east coast of Libya, hitting Benghazi before heading east towards the cities of Shahat (Cyrene), al-Marj, al-Bayda and Souda (Apollonia). But mainly towards Derna, which counted 100,000 inhabitants before the disaster.

On Sunday night, the two dams of Wadi Derna, which hold the waters of the river that crosses it Derna, retreated. Strong currents of water destroyed the bridges and carried entire districts along with their inhabitants to the two banks of the river to end up in the sea. Many roads have been damaged and access to the affected areas is difficult.


Authorities in eastern Libya are giving different accounts of the number of casualties. An account refers to 3,800 dead. But everyone is worried that the actual death toll is many times higher. A representative of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (FICR) speaks of a “huge” number of dead, which may reach the thousands, and of 10,000 missing. Other officials predict more than 10,000 dead. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says 30,000 people have fled their homes in Derna, 3,000 in al-Baida and more than 2,000 in Benghazi. According to IOM, 884,000 people have been directly affected by the disaster.

Why so many dead in Derna?

The dilapidated infrastructure, the constructions in violation of the urban building rules during the last decade and the lack of preparation against these types of disasters transformed this city into an open cemetery, as reported by APE-MPE. Most of the deaths could have been avoided, said Petri Taalas, head of the UN’s World Meteorological Organization. The meteorological observation network and IT systems have been largely destroyed during the years of conflict, he noted. Since the fall and death of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya is in chaos with the existence of two rival governments, one recognized by the UN based in Tripoli and one in the eastern region which was affected by the floods.

Providing assistance

As of Monday morning, phalanxes from Tripolitania in western Libya headed towards Derna. The government under Abdelhamid Dbeiba announced the dispatch of two air ambulances and a helicopter, 87 doctors and a search and rescue team, as well as technicians from the National Electricity Company to restore electricity.

On Wednesday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs disbursed $10 million from an emergency fund, saying the UN had deployed a team to the scene of the disaster to “support and finance international assistance.” The European Commission announced the aid mission from Germany, Romania and Finland as part of the European Union’s civil protection mechanism, with tents, camping beds, blankets, generators and food items.

For its part, the World Food Program announced that it has started feeding 5,000 families, clarifying that thousands more in Derna are also without food and shelter. the UN, the United States and many countries in the Middle East and North Africa have also pledged to send aid. Foreign rescue teams are already searching for survivors.

Source: News Beast

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