Dam collapses deepen flood disaster in Libya, thousands missing
Severe flooding in Libya, triggered by heavy rainfall and worsened by the collapse of two dams in Derna, has left thousands feared dead and missing, according to aid agencies. Tamer Ramadan, the head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies delegation in Libya, indicated that the death toll could reach thousands, with 10,000 people unaccounted for, based on reports from the Libyan Red Crescent. The flooding, mainly affecting the northeast of Libya, caused rivers to overflow, destroying homes and infrastructure.
The collapse of the dams in Derna compounded the disaster, unleashing a torrent of water that engulfed the city and washed away entire neighborhoods, as reported by Ahmed al-Mismari, a spokesman for the Libyan National Army. Libya's longstanding division between a government in Tripoli and another in the east, including Derna, has complicated coordination of rescue efforts. The western government's ambulance and emergency services department reported over 2,300 deaths and more than 5,000 missing individuals.
Meanwhile, authorities in the east stated that they had recovered over 1,000 bodies so far, with al-Mismari suggesting that the death toll in Derna alone might exceed 2,000, while the number of missing persons could rise significantly due to the challenging rescue and aid operations.
International assistance efforts were underway, with the United States and other organizations working to evaluate how best to provide support. Shipments of supplies and medical teams were dispatched to the affected region, and Turkish rescue teams also arrived to aid in the efforts.
Communication difficulties arose due to the collapse of phone networks, leaving many unable to check on the well-being of their loved ones. The devastating flooding in Libya is part of a larger weather front that also caused severe flooding in Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria before reaching Libya and continuing on to Egypt.
Libya's vulnerability to climate change, including rising sea levels and more intense storms, heightens the risk of such disasters, particularly in low-lying coastal areas. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt pledged immediate assistance and humanitarian aid to Libya, recognizing the urgency of the situation.
Alice Tao 报道