The head of one of Libya's two rival governments reports that a potent storm has triggered catastrophic floods in the eastern city of Derna, potentially leading to as many as 2,000 people being lost to drowning.
Over the past two days, Libya has been ravaged by deadly storm winds and extensive flooding, resulting in an estimated casualty toll in the thousands. On Monday, Osama Hamad, the leader of Libya’s eastern government, reported that more than 2,000 individuals had perished, and thousands remained unaccounted for in the coastal city of Derna.
The fatalities occurred following the occurrence of a potent storm and extensive floods that caused the failure of two aging dams. This, in turn, unleashed a swollen, swiftly flowing river that completely engulfed at least one neighborhood.
The official Facebook page of the Derna municipal council issued a grim declaration, describing the situation as catastrophic and beyond control. They urgently appealed for international assistance and the establishment of a sea corridor due to the extensive damage to most of the city’s road infrastructure.
Kais Fhakeri from the Red Crescent reported, “We have recorded a minimum of 150 casualties resulting from building collapses, and we anticipate the death toll could rise to 250. The situation is extremely dire.”
Heart-wrenching scenes of heavy floods sweeping away vehicles were captured on video and broadcast by Almostakbal TV in eastern Libya. The channel also shared images depicting a collapsed road connecting Sousse and Shahat, which is home to the UNESCO-listed archaeological site Cyrene.
In response to the disaster, Libya’s eastern-based parliament declared a period of three days for mourning. Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, the rival UN-recognized Libyan prime minister based in Tripoli in Libya’s western region, also declared a three-day mourning period for all the affected cities, designating them as “disaster areas.”