At least 5,200, have died in the coastal city of Derna in Libya after the city, home to about 100,000 people, was hit by floods caused by Storm Daniel hich made landfall in Libya on Sunday after earlier lashing Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey. Emergency services reported over 5,000 people missing and approximately 7,000 injured.
Buildings collapsed, cars disappeared, and major bridges were swept away. The city’s infrastructure was ill-equipped to withstand such a storm, as the dams had not been maintained for over two decades.
On Wednesday, al-Omran International Maritime Agencies confirmed that four major oil ports in Libya, namely Brega, Es Sidra, Ras Lanuf, and Zueitina, have reopened after being closed due to the storm. This development led to a rise in oil prices, as the market considered the impact of the port shutdowns and OPEC+ production cuts on the global economic outlook and oil supply concerns.
According to Derna’s deputy mayor, Ahmed Madroud, the city’s infrastructure was not designed to withstand the recent floods. The dams upstream from Derna had not been maintained for over 20 years, and they were not adequately sized. The failure of the first dam, which was 70 meters tall, led to water accumulation behind the second dam, ultimately resulting in its bursting.
Islamic Relief said it will provide aid to flood victims, allocating an initial 100,000 pounds for supplies like food, blankets, and mattresses. Said the NGO in a statement:
"North Africa has suffered two devastating disasters in just a few days following the earthquake in Morocco, where Islamic Relief has sent an emergency response team."
Additionally, several countries, including Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, have sent rescue teams to assist in eastern Libya.
Rescue teams from Turkey and the United Arab Emirates have arrived in eastern Libya, while Egypt’s armed forces chief of staff flew to Benghazi with relief supplies. France will send a field hospital, and Algeria has dispatched aircraft with essential supplies. Egypt, France, Iran, Italy, Qatar, Tunisia, the United Nations, and the United States are all prepared to assist. The UN reports that over 46,000 people were already internally displaced in eastern Libya before the storm hit. Rula Amin, the spokeswoman for the UNHCR told Al Jazeera:
"We are sending everything needed to complement and increase the supplies in the hub in Benghazi.
The roads have been damaged, telecommunications in Derna is down, hospitals are in difficulties, also our local partners have been affected – it’s a disaster situation."
While the death toll in Derna currently stands at 5,200, it is anticipated to increase as search and recovery efforts persist. Tamer Ramadan of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies expressed that the death toll could potentially reach thousands.
Two dams upstream from the city ruptured on Sunday, following the impact of Storm Daniel. The resulting deluge of water devastated Derna, causing buildings to collapse and sweeping away both structures and individuals.