HomeDisastersTragedy of Catastrophic Floods Devastate Libya's Derna, Unearthing Grim Toll more than...

Tragedy of Catastrophic Floods Devastate Libya’s Derna, Unearthing Grim Toll more than 10,000

A heart-wrenching catastrophe has struck Libya’s eastern city of Derna, as the aftermath of Storm Daniel’s wrath unveils a staggering toll. Emergency responders have unearthed hundreds of bodies amidst the wreckage, and the grim specter of more casualties looms large. An astounding 10,000 people remain missing after the deluge triggered by the storm breached dams and obliterated entire neighborhoods.

Eastern Libya’s health minister reports the retrieval of over 1,000 corpses, with at least 700 laid to rest thus far. However, Derna’s ambulance authority places the current death toll at a harrowing 2,300. Shocking footage captures the grim reality, with scores of bodies covered by blankets in hospital yards and mass graves bearing the weight of the lost.

Catastrophic Floods Devastate Libya’s Derna

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Rescuers evacuate residents in a dinghy across a flooded street in the town of Lugo on August 18, 2023, after heavy rains caused flooding across Italy’s northern Emilia Romagna region, killing nine people. (Photo by Andreas

Storm Daniel’s fury swept through Derna, triggering flash floods down the Wadi Derna river, causing widespread devastation. The disaster struck on Sunday night, leaving residents to grapple with the sound of exploding dams and the subsequent deluge. Outside aid reached Derna only after more than 36 hours, as the floods severed access roads to the city of 89,000.

Ahmed Madroud, Derna’s deputy mayor, attributes the scale of destruction to weak infrastructure and clustered buildings along narrow streets near the riverbanks. Videos posted by residents depict the aftermath: mud-soaked landscapes and collapsed structures.

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In the face of this tragedy, Libya’s divisions momentarily dissolve, with the nation united in grief. The disaster transcends political differences, emphasizing the need for concerted efforts to overcome this ordeal.

Gilles Carbonnier, vice president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, underscores the gravity of the situation, as hundreds may have perished, thousands are affected, and many remain missing. The catastrophe’s magnitude highlights the urgency of coordinated response efforts.

Despite Libya’s complex political landscape, Anas El Gomati, founder of Sadeq Institute, stresses the ample time authorities had to prepare for the impending disaster. Unlike seismic events with little warning, they had days to plan evacuations as the dams swelled. The tragedy serves as a stark reminder of the profound consequences of nature’s fury and the critical need for preparedness in an ever-changing climate.

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