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Thousands are believed dead in Libya after a heavy storm burst dams

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Thousands are believed dead, and thousands more feared missing, after a heavy storm collapsed dams in Libya.
libya storm dams

Thousands are believed dead, and thousands more feared missing, after a heavy storm collapsed dams in Libya.

‘Storm Daniel’ made landfall in northeastern Libya on Sunday after claiming the lives of 15 in Greece last week.

Two dams collapsed from the heavy rainfall, inundating the city of Derna in the country’s east.

Details

Libya authorities say Derna has become inaccessible after the “catastrophic” collapse of two dams near the city following the storm. Flooding swept entire neighbourhoods into the sea.

They also said roads were blocked, and described the situation as “beyond comprehension”.

The city is facing significant infrastructure damage and is without electricity or communications, according to local media.

Casualties

The current number of casualties from the storm is yet to be verified.

Authorities in eastern Libya report that more than 2,000 people in Derna have died and up to 6,000 are missing.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says around 3,000 are dead across the country and up to 10,000 people are feared missing from the flooding.

Political context

The absence of a central government in Libya complicates rescue and aid efforts in the country.

Libya has two rival governments – the East and West. These divisions formed in 2014, following years of civil war in the country. International authorities only recognise the government in Tripoli, which controls western Libya.

The conflict has left the country with inadequate infrastructure, which some have blamed for the collapse of the dams.

Response

Countries including the U.S., Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, and the UAE have offered aid to Libya.

Georgette Gagnon, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator for Libya, said the devastation caused by Storm Daniel was “shocking by all accounts”.

“The United Nations is working to meet urgent needs including life-saving support such as food, water, medical supplies and shelter,” she posted to X.

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