“We have asked the Minister of Justice to investigate the flood disaster in Derna city. Anyone involved will be held accountable” – Mr. Mohammed Al-Menfi, Chairman of the Libyan Presidential Council, Wrote on social network X (the new name of Twitter) on September 14.
The request for an investigation by officials in the capital Tripoli – the UN-recognized government in Libya – comes in the context of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) saying there could be huge humanitarian losses in Derna. This could have been avoided if the Libyan weather service had been effective.
“If the Libyan meteorological agency had functioned normally, they would have issued flood warnings. From there, emergency response agencies could have evacuated and avoided most of the human casualties” – reuters Quoting WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas in Geneva-Switzerland.
The World Meteorological Organization said that massive loss of life could have been avoided if Libya had had an effective weather agency. Photo: AP
Many buildings in Derna city were completely washed away – Photo: Reuters
It is estimated that 25% of the city of Derna was destroyed – Photo: Reuters
The September 11 flooding disaster in the eastern Libyan city of Derna also forced many people to heed previous warnings. Last year in particular, a hydrological study highlighted the danger Derna faces from flooding and the urgent need to maintain the dams that protect the city.
Severe flooding caused by Hurricane Daniel broke two dams upstream, sending water into Derna and neighboring towns like a “7 meter high tsunami”, sweeping many people out to sea.
The death toll so far has been reported at more than 11,000 and thousands more cases are still missing.
Derna city mayor Abdulmenem al-Ghaithi told the channel al Arabiya That the death toll could reach 18,000 -20,000 people. “I am worried that the city will be infected with this disease because of the large number of bodies under the debris and in the water” – said Mr. Abdulmenam al-Ghaithi.
Photo of a car washed into the sea in the city of Derna in eastern Libya. Photo: AP
Rescue efforts are ongoing with the support of the armies of Egypt, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey and Qatar.
Turkiye sent ships carrying equipment to establish two field hospitals. Italy sent three supply aircraft and personnel and two naval ships.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said it would allocate US$2 million from emergency funds to assist victims and called the Libyan floods a “disaster of massive scale”.
In Libya, a country of 7 million people, apart from the internationally recognized government in Tripoli, the entire former is under the management of the Libyan National Army (LNA).
Derna in particular is particularly lawless, as it was under the control of several Muslim armed groups before “falling into the hands” of the LNA.
Satellite images of the city of Derna before and after it was swept away by floods on September 11. Photo: Reuters
Losing multiple loved ones at the same time
The flood disaster that hit the city of Derna in eastern Libya brought pain to many people as they lost many loved ones at the same time.
Mr Usama Al Hussady, a 52-year-old driver, continues to search for his wife and five children. “I went everywhere looking for him… I went to all the hospitals and schools but to no avail” – Mr Hussady said. reuters Then she hugged his face and started crying – “I have lost at least 50 members of my father’s family.”
Mr Wali Edin Mohammed Adam (Sudanese nationality, 24 years old), a brick factory worker on the outskirts of Derna, said about 10 of his colleagues were swept away in the severe flooding overnight.
Crying for relatives killed by floods in Libya. Photo: Reuters