At least two thousand people people have died and thousands of people went missing in the storm and subsequent floods in Libya. According to the reports, the recent disaster in Derna, which is controlled by the Libyan National Army (LNA), was triggered by the collapse of dams due to heavy storms and rainfall. Ahmed Mismari, the spokesperson of LNA, disclosed that the number of missing individuals is estimated to be between 5,000 to 6,000. The death toll remains uncertain estimated at 2,000 deaths.
According to Hichem Chkiouat, the minister of civil aviation and a member of the emergency committee, the final toll is expected to be staggering as the situation is disastrous, with bodies lying everywhere, including in the sea, valleys, and beneath collapsed buildings. Chkiouat expressed that around 25% of the city has been wiped out, with numerous structures reduced to rubble.
Libya, politically divided between East and West, has been grappling with deteriorating public services since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising. The internationally recognized government in Tripoli does not have control over the eastern regions.
In response to the catastrophe, the three-person Presidential Council in Tripoli, which functions as the country’s head of state, has called on the international community to help. The disaster was triggered by a powerful storm ‘Daniel’, which not only wreaked havoc in Derna but also impacted Libya’s second-largest city, Benghazi. Authorities declared a state of extreme emergency, implementing curfews, closing schools and stores, and initiating search-and-rescue operations.
This flood impacted the country’s oil industry, with major ports closing for three days. The United Nations has pledged to provide urgent relief assistance to support local and national response efforts.
According to Qatar’s state news agency, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani instructed the government to send aid to the affected area in eastern Libya.