Libya is reeling from the catastrophic aftermath of flash floods that submerged the port city of Derna, resulting in a grim toll as more bodies wash ashore. In response to the tragedy, shipments of international aid have begun arriving in the region, providing a glimmer of hope for the survivors amid the daunting task of recovering from the disaster.
The catastrophe struck on a Sunday when torrential rains, triggered by a hurricane-strength storm, caused two dams to burst, unleashing devastating flash floods in the popular tourist town of Barcelos. Despite conflicting reports on the death toll, with some sources suggesting over 3,000 lives lost, the extent of the tragedy is undeniable.
International organizations have sprung into action to offer assistance. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that 29 tonnes of aid have reached the eastern city of Benghazi, where the devastation is most acute. Ahmed Zouiten, the WHO’s Libya representative, described the situation as “a disaster of epic proportions.”
Recovery efforts continue as bodies continue to wash ashore, creating a heartbreaking scene for rescue teams. Malta’s Civil Protection Department reported the discovery of a beach strewn with lifeless bodies, illustrating the gravity of the situation.
Aid-laden planes from countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Iran have landed in Benghazi, bringing much-needed relief to the affected region. Italy has dispatched a ship loaded with essential supplies, including helicopters, bulldozers, tents, blankets, and pumps. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have also contributed to the aid efforts, and France has sent a field hospital to provide medical assistance.
Amid the tragedy, stories of survival and loss have emerged. Injured individuals from Derna are being treated at medical facilities in Benghazi. One survivor, Eid Kayat Abdel Khalef, revealed that 75 people from his hometown in Egypt were killed in the deluge, underscoring the far-reaching impact of the disaster.
However, reports suggest that the relief efforts in Derna have faced challenges, with some describing the situation as marked by “confusion and chaos.” This has prompted calls for better organization in the delivery of aid to ensure that affected communities receive the support they urgently need.
Libya, still grappling with the aftermath of a tumultuous decade since the NATO-backed uprising that toppled Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, is facing another humanitarian crisis. The decaying infrastructure in the country has exacerbated the disaster’s impact, with experts linking it to the effects of a warming planet.
The United Nations has initiated an appeal for over $71 million to assist hundreds of thousands in need. UN aid chief Martin Griffiths emphasized the necessity of coordination between Libya’s rival administrations to address the magnitude of the problem.
As investigations into the dams’ condition continue, it has been revealed that the structures had been cracked since 1998. Repairs initiated in 2010 were disrupted by the 2011 revolution and never resumed. Authorities have pledged to hold those responsible accountable for their negligence.
While Libya confronts the daunting task of rebuilding and recovering from this devastating disaster, the international community rallies to provide support and assistance to the affected regions.
Sources By Agencies