OAN’s Brooke Mallory
1:21 PM – Tuesday, September 12, 2023
A storm that hit Libya on Monday is believed to have killed or misplaced up to 10,000 people due to disastrous flooding in the eastern part of the nation.
According to humanitarian reports, more than 2,000 people were killed in just one coastal city, and many more are still missing after a calamity brought on by the Mediterranean storm “Daniel” worsened when two dams burst.
The nation of North Africa, which was already suffering from years of strife, saw entire neighborhoods destroyed. Images showed the area completely destroyed by the floodwaters. Vehicles, masonry, and other debris littered the streets and whole buildings were washed away.
The ambulance and emergency services stated that the downpour looked to have caused the most damage in Derna, a city where 2,300 people were reported dead and another 5,000 were missing.
The health minister in Libya’s eastern government, Othman Abduljaleel, asserted that the situation was extremely “catastrophic.”
“The bodies are still lying on the ground in many parts. Hospitals are filled with bodies. And there are areas we have yet to reach,” he said, according to The Associated Press.
Aid organizations have cautioned that the death toll will likely increase considerably over the next several days.
“The ultimate death toll may be far higher,” said Tamer Ramadan, during a video conference. Ramadan is a representative of Libya to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
“We confirmed from our independent sources of information the number of missing people is hitting 10,000 persons, so far,” he said, adding that this is not a finalized figure. “The humanitarian needs are huge and much more beyond the abilities of the Libyan Red Crescent and even beyond the abilities of the government.”
The Norwegian Refugee Council’s Libya director, Dax Bennet Roque, stated that his staff was reporting a “disastrous situation” after the floods struck some of the most underprivileged towns along the coast.
“Many families have lost all their belongings and search and rescue workers are looking for people missing. Tens of thousands of people are displaced with no prospect of going back home,” he said. “Communities across Libya have endured years of conflict, poverty and displacement. The latest disaster will exacerbate the situation for these people.”
Two separate governments in the nation typically compete with one another for control of the east and west parts of Libya. Following the murder of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 after 40 years in power, both sides have received support from various militias and international countries that have fought for control of the oil-rich country.
Following years of fighting, the nation’s infrastructure and public services are in disarray.
The worst-affected districts, located near the towns of Derna, Shahat and Dar Al Bayda, were designated a “disaster zone” on Monday by the Libyan Presidential Council.
According to the council, “brotherly and friendly countries and international organizations to provide assistance and support for the stricken areas and maritime rescue efforts to recover the victims.”
Richard B. Norland, the American ambassador to Libya, declared in a statement that the United States had “issued an official declaration of humanitarian need” in response to the flooding.
“We are coordinating with U.N. partners and Libyan authorities to assess how best to target official U.S. assistance,” he said. “Libyan Americans had been in contact with the embassy with offers of financial help.”
On Monday, the Libyan Health Ministry said that it had rented a jet from African Airlines and loaded it with supplies and medication for distribution to the country’s impacted towns in the east.
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