Libya As bodies pile up in the streets of Derna, the northern coastal city devastated by flooding when a torrential downpour broke through two dams, washing homes into the sea, Libya is rushing to bury its dead.
Libya According to hospital employees and representatives of the eastern parliament-backed administration of Libya, morgues are overflowing in hospitals that are still not functioning despite the urgent need to treat survivors of a catastrophe that has already claimed at least 5,000 lives.
Authorities estimate that another 10,000 people are still missing, either swept out to sea or buried beneath the wreckage that has been scattered around the city, which formerly housed more than 100,000 people.
In an effort to uphold Islamic principles that the dead should be given proper burial rituals within three days, emergency crews are sifting through debris mounds for survivors and bodies.
According to Libya’s minister of state for cabinet affairs, Adel Juma, “the Martyrs’ committee (has been established to) identify the missing people and to implement procedures for identifying and burying of in accordance with Sharia and legal laws and standards.”
Trying to remove roads and debris to discover survivors has become an even more difficult task due to the damage Storm Daniel inflicted.
As a result of the storm’s disruption of communications, rescue attempts were hampered, and relatives outside of Libya who were awaiting word of lost loved ones experienced anxiety.
Palestinian woman Ayah said she has cousins in Derna but hasn’t been able to reach them since the flooding.
“I’m genuinely concerned for them. Derna is where my two cousins reside. I don’t know if they are still alive at this moment because it appears that all communication is down. Watching the vids coming out of Derna is quite disturbing. All of us are afraid.
The 2011 revolt against Muammar Gaddafi’s reign shook Libya, and a civil war tore it apart. The extent of the damage highlights how vulnerable a nation that has battled conflicting factions and anarchy for years is.
In contrast to its adversary in the east, which is governed by commander Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army (LNA) and supports the eastern-based parliament led by Osama Hamad, the Government of National Unity (GNU), endorsed by the UN, is based in Tripoli in northwest Libya.
Derna, which is located around 190 miles (300 kilometers) to the east of Benghazi, is governed by Haftar and his eastern government.
Not prepared for such a ‘catastrophe’
One of the deadliest floods in North Africa’s recorded history appears to have been caused by Storm Daniel.
A tropical-like cyclone formed from the extremely powerful low-pressure system, which then traveled into the Mediterranean before crossing the Libyan coast. Last week, Daniel also caused unheard-of floods in Greece, but there were significantly fewer fatalities.
The terrible storm occurs during a year marked by unparalleled climate disasters and harsh weather, including devastating wildfires and stifling heat.
While other cities in the area were impacted by the flooding, Derna was the most severely damaged when two dams gave way, dumping entire neighborhoods into the roiling sea.
According to a representative for the Emergency and Ambulance services, Osama Aly, “Libya was not prepared for a catastrophe like that.”
Countries and organizations send help
The nation, according to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), is experiencing “an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.”
In addition to undertaking a collaborative needs assessment to support those affected by the floods, the committee is also making an appeal for assistance from the global community, according to Ciaran Donelly, senior vice president for disaster response at IRC.
He stated, “We must keep in mind that Libya is not only a country in trouble; it is also a route for individuals traveling to Europe. Since 2016, the IRC has devoted all of its energy to helping vulnerable migrants, refugees, and Libyans affected by this protracted crisis by offering them safety and medical care.
According to Turkey’s Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), Turkish aircraft carrying humanitarian aid arrived in Libya on Tuesday. According to the state-run news agency Anadolu Agency, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that 168 search and rescue teams as well as humanitarian aid would be sent to Benghazi.
The country’s Civil Protection Department announced Tuesday that Italy is sending a civil defense team to help with rescue operations.
While this was going on, the US Embassy in Tripoli declared that its special representative, ambassador Richard Norland, had issued an official statement of humanitarian need.
This “will permit the United States’ initial contribution to the aid efforts in Libya. We are working in concert with UN allies and Libyan authorities to determine how to best direct official US support,” the statement read on X (formerly known as Twitter).
In addition to directing the dispatch of help and search and rescue teams, President of the United Arab Emirates Zayed Al Nahyan sent his condolences to those affected by the disaster, according to state news agency.