In a tragic turn of events, severe floods caused by storm Daniel have claimed the lives of at least 150 people in eastern Libya. The storm, which also wreaked havoc in Turkey, Bulgaria, and Greece, left a trail of destruction in its wake.
The affected regions in Libya witnessed large mudslides, buildings reduced to rubble, and entire neighborhoods submerged in murky water. Oussama Hamad, the prime minister of the east-based government, expressed deep concern, suggesting that over 2,000 people might have lost their lives with thousands more missing in the city of Derna alone. However, these figures have not been confirmed by medical sources or emergency services.
While some media outlets in eastern Libya echoed Hamad’s alarming statement, reports from various areas paint a different picture. Mohamed Massoud, a spokesperson for Hamad’s administration, reported that “at least 150 people lost their lives due to flooding and heavy rains in Derna, Jabal al-Akhdar, and the suburbs of Al-Marj.” He also highlighted the extensive damage to public and private properties.
Desperate Search for Survivors
Rescue efforts, supported by the military, are ongoing to reach hundreds of residents believed to be stranded in remote areas. Tragically, nine soldiers have been reported missing during these operations. Hamad and other ministers have traveled to Derna to assess the magnitude of the devastation.
Experts have characterized storm Daniel as “extreme” due to the unprecedented amount of rainfall it brought within a 24-hour period. The storm had already claimed the lives of at least 27 people in Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria before making its way to Libya.
Derna, a city with a population of 100,000, is now in a catastrophic state. Four main bridges, two buildings, and two dams have collapsed, according to a city council official. Urgent national and international intervention is needed to address the dire situation in Derna, which is located 900 kilometers east of Tripoli.
A Plea for Help
In response to this tragedy, Libya’s western government, led by Abdelhamid Dbeibah, declared three days of national mourning and called for unity among all Libyans. The National Petroleum Company, which operates primarily in eastern Libya, has declared a “state of maximum alert” and suspended flights between production sites due to significant disruptions.
Presidential Council chief Mohamed al-Manfi has also appealed for assistance from brotherly and friendly countries, as well as international organizations. Derna, Shahat, and Al-Bayda have officially been declared “disaster zones.”
UN Offers Support
The United Nations mission in Libya expressed condolences for the lives lost and declared its readiness to assist local authorities and municipalities in responding to the emergency. The mission is closely monitoring the situation caused by severe weather conditions in eastern Libya.
As the affected regions grapple with the aftermath of this catastrophic storm, the urgent need for aid, both domestic and international, remains critical to support the affected communities in their time of need.