Catastrophic Flooding in Northeastern Libya Claims Thousands of Lives

Unprecedented Disaster Unfolds as Historic Rainfall Devastates Derna, Prompting Global Support Efforts

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Disaster Unfolds as Historic Rainfall Devastates Derna, Prompting Global Support Efforts

An unprecedented disaster has struck northeastern Libya as devastating flooding wreaked havoc, causing widespread destruction and claiming thousands of lives. The United Nations has reported a staggering death toll of at least 11,300 people, with another 10,100 individuals reported missing in the city of Derna alone.

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This tragic event unfolded following historic rainfall that led to the collapse of two dams, unleashing millions of cubic meters of floodwater through the heart of the city. The aftermath has left Derna in ruins, with entire neighborhoods swept away, leaving its population of around 100,000 grappling with the catastrophic consequences.

The sheer scale of the disaster has hindered rescue and relief efforts. Bodies have been found amid the wreckage of leveled buildings, mangled cars, and uprooted palm trees, adding to the immense challenges faced by recovery teams. Health concerns have also arisen, with reports of poisoned drinking water affecting children and posing a risk of disease outbreaks.

International assistance has started to arrive in Libya, with the World Health Organization providing 32 tons of essential health aid, including medicines, trauma supplies, and medical equipment. This support aims to address the urgent health needs of the affected population and ensure dignified burials for the deceased.

The disaster in Derna, experts say, resulted from a combination of factors, including torrential rains, aging infrastructure, inadequate warnings, and the impact of the climate crisis. The collapse of the dams, which dated back to the 1970s, will be thoroughly investigated, along with local officials and previous governments, according to Libya’s general prosecutor.

The catastrophe has prompted international rescue teams to call for additional assistance in retrieving the bodies of victims. Many bodies remain in the water, some in areas accessible only with specialized equipment, posing significant challenges to recovery efforts.

As the devastating impact of the flooding continues to unfold, the world stands in solidarity with the people of northeastern Libya. The true extent of the tragedy remains uncertain, as conflicting reports on the death toll have emerged. However, the region faces a long and challenging road to recovery.