Derna Devastated by Catastrophic Floods: Thousands Dead, Missing, and Extensive Infrastructure Damage
The Devastating Deluge
The eastern Libyan city of Derna has been devastated by catastrophic floods, a disaster that has caused thousands of deaths and left even more people missing. The city, normally protected by two dams, was caught off guard when both infrastructures collapsed under the pressure of the torrential downpour unleashed by the powerful Storm Daniel. The storm, which had already wreaked havoc in other Mediterranean countries, dumped record amounts of rain in Libya, causing the dams to fail and a torrent to sweep through the city.
The flooding disaster in Derna is a major infrastructure failure, with the dams’ collapse raising concerns about further flooding in the event of additional rainfall. The dams were built in the 1970s and had previously caused at least five floods since 1942. However, they had not been maintained since 2002 due to political conflict, a negligence that has had disastrous consequences.
The Scale of the Damage
The extent of the damage is substantial, with large parts of Derna, possibly a quarter or more, completely wiped out. Infrastructure, including city bridges, has been destroyed, and thousands of buildings have been exposed to flooding. The flood uprooted trees and wrecked hundreds of cars, and much of the city is now covered in mud. Power and water supplies were severed after the flood, although partial restoration of electricity and internet services has been reported.
The most severely affected areas are along the banks of the river that cuts through the city center. Embankments with whole neighborhoods on top were destroyed or washed away. The city’s infrastructure damage has severely hampered rescue and relief efforts, with access to some areas limited due to road damage.
The Human Toll
The human cost of this disaster is alarming, with thousands of people confirmed dead and thousands more missing. The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies estimates that around 10,000 people are thought to be missing. The number of displaced individuals is estimated to be at least 30,000.
The catastrophic scale of this disaster has placed tremendous strain on rescue workers, who face the daunting task of recovering bodies and providing aid amidst the destruction. Officials have called for international assistance, including search and rescue support, with rescue teams from Egypt, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Qatar arriving in response.
The Call for International Aid
In response to the overwhelming scale of the crisis, Mohamed Takala, the Head of the High Council of State (HCS) in Libya, recently held a meeting with the Italian Ambassador to Libya, Gianluca Alberini. During the meeting, Takala expressed gratitude for Italy’s support during these difficult times and called for more international aid to assist in rebuilding the affected areas.
The meeting also covered regional and international developments and addressed topics of mutual interest, such as the issue of illegal immigration. This meeting signifies the ongoing cooperation between Libya and Italy and underscores Italy’s role in supporting Libya through its recent adversities.
Apart from the intrinsic humanitarian imperative, the international community’s response to this crisis will significantly impact the course of Libya’s recovery. The nation is already grappling with political instability and conflict, and it is now facing one of the world’s most severe humanitarian crises. The international community’s support will be crucial in helping Libya navigate this challenging time and chart a course towards a more stable and prosperous future.
Subscribe to BNN Breaking
Sign up for our daily newsletter covering global breaking news around the world.