- The death toll from devastating floods in Libya’s eastern city of Derna has risen to an estimated 6000 Dead In Libya Floods, according to local officials.
- The figure is expected to rise as recovery operations continue in the coastal city that was pummeled by Storm Daniel.
- Rescuers and aid convoys are struggling to get to Derna, which has only one functional road left leading into it.
- Derna’s deputy mayor says the way the city was built put most of the population in the water’s direct path.
More countries rushing to provide relief aid to Libya
Relief missions to Libya gathered pace with Turkey, Egypt, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates among the first nations to rush aid to the east of the country.
The UAE sent two aid planes carrying 150 tonnes of food, relief and medical supplies.
A Kuwaiti flight took off with 40 tonnes of supplies, and Jordan sent a military plane loaded with food parcels, tents, blankets and mattresses.
Tunisia and Algeria have also pledged to send relief aid. 6000 Dead In Libya Floods
Egyptian humanitarian aid and equipment are loaded into an Egyptian Air Force plane for Libya where a powerful storm caused catastrophic floods, at Almaza Air Force in Cairo, Egypt, September 12, 2023. Egyptian Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY
EU sends assistance to flood-hit Libya 6000 Dead In Libya Floods
The European Union is to provide disaster response equipment and humanitarian funding to Libya, the European Commission said.
The aid from Germany, Romania and Finland consists of “tents, field beds and blankets, 80 generators, food items, as well as hospital tents and water tanks”, the EU said. 6000 Dead In Libya Floods
EU crisis management commissioner Janez Lenarcic said the bloc had also released an initial 500,000 euros ($535,000) in emergency funding.
“The EU remains ready to scale up the response for the most affected people in Libya going through this difficult time,” he said.
Ambulances line up near a mass grave after a powerful storm and heavy rainfall hit Derna, Libya
Qatari planes loaded with humanitarian aid land in Benghazi
Qatar has sent two planes carrying 67 tonnes of humanitarian and relief aid to the east of Libya as part of an emergency response to the region affected by flooding.
The planes arrived at Benina airport in Benghazi, the Qatar News Agency reported.
The aid includes medical and food supplies in addition to a field hospital provided by the Qatar Fund for Development.
UN has limited emergency supplies in Libya
Michele Servadei, the UNICEF chief for Libya, says the floods have wiped out years of developments in Derna.
Due to years of internal conflict, the coastal city had been shifting from a phase of emergency towards one of development and recovery. 6000 Dead In Libya Floods
But the devastating floods caused by Storm Daniel erased the progress made on the ground.
Additionally, Servadei said, the UN stockpile to respond to the crisis is also limited due to its use in tackling the migration crisis.
“We don’t have a lot of emergency supplies left,” he told Al Jazeera from Tripoli.
Servadei said the UN agency is now focused on providing medicine, setting up psychological support and family registrations to map unaccompanied children.
International Rescue Committee calls for urgent global aid
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has appealed to the international community to send humanitarian assistance to the people in Libya affected by the floods, warning that the situation is dire.
“The IRC is gravely concerned about the protection needs of those caught up in this tragedy, especially thousands of women and children who have to leave their homes in search of safety,” the aid group said in a statement.
“Urgent emergency shelter is needed for those unable to return to their homes, and psychosocial support for those who have seen their lives literally washed away.” 6000 Dead In Libya Floods
The IRC also warned of the dangers of waterborne diseases after sanitation and hygiene infrastructure was severely damaged.
Pope Francis prays for those affected by floods
Pope Francis has used his weekly audience to pray for the victims of the flooding in Derna.
At the Vatican, Francis asked for prayers “for those who lost their lives, their families and the displaced”.
“My thoughts are with the people of Libya hard hit by violent rains that caused flooding and inundation causing numerous deaths and injuries as well as extensive damage,” the 86-year-old pontiff said.
Italy sends experts, ship to Libya after floods
Italy has begun flying firefighting personnel and flooding experts to Libya and also sent a ship to provide medical and logistical support following devastating floods, the defence ministry said.
After a reconnaissance mission on Tuesday, two Italian military transport aircraft were due to make three trips on Wednesday to carry experts, equipment and other materials to Libya.
A naval ship has also set off, due to reach Libya within 24 hours, to provide logistical and medical support, the ministry said in a statement.
Another naval ship carrying two search and rescue helicopters, personnel and equipment, might also be dispatched if required, the ministry said.
Mapping the flood damage
Satellite images show the scale of destruction caused by the floods.
Drag to the left to see what remains of Derna [PlanetLabs]
‘Derna is flattened’
Mabrooka Elmesmary, a journalist who managed to leave Derna on Tuesday, describes the city as a “disaster on a massive scale”.
“There is no water, no electricity, no petrol,” she told Al Jazeera. “The city is flattened.”
Apartment buildings with families inside have been swept away, she said.
“There’s a wave of displacement as people are trying to flee Derna but many are stuck because a lot of the roads are blocked or gone,” Elmesmary said, adding that some families have been taking shelter in schools.
Mobilisation unlike anything since 2011: AJ correspondent
Libyans are mobilising in ways unseen since at least 2011, said Al Jazeera’s Malik Traina, reporting from Tripoli, referring to the country’s uprising against former deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi.
This level of unity is something that hasn’t occurred since, as people come together in the wake of the disaster, said Traina.
Meanwhile, the coordination of aid is “going well”, he added.
UN agency says at least 30,000 people displaced in Derna by storm
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Libya says at least 30,000 people have been displaced in Derna.
In a post on X, the IOM said 6,085 other people have been displaced in other storm-hit areas, including Benghazi, with the number of deaths still unverified.
“IOM & partners are immediately prepositioning NFIs [non-food items], medicines, search and rescue equipment and personnel to the affected areas,” the UN agency said.
Hope in disaster uniting rival governments: AJ correspondent
Libyans are coming to terms with the flood damage, which is “an unprecedented catastrophe”, said Al Jazeera’s Malik Traina, reporting from Tripoli.
A child in Derna was asking for his mother, “but no one has seen her”, said Traina.
Bodies washed into the sea can also be seen in the distance in the ravaged city, but it’s too dangerous to recover them for now, he added.
Flags are flying at half-staff in Tripoli as aid from western Libya and other countries has started to pour into the east of the country.
People are blaming government negligence, Traina reports, but they are also hoping the devastation can finally unite the country’s rival politicians.
Death toll rises to 6,000
The death toll from the floods in Libya’s east has risen to 6,000, with thousands still missing, according to an official with the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity (GNU).
Saadeddin Abdul Wakil, the health ministry undersecretary of the internationally recognised government in Libya’s west, told Anadolu news agency the figure was “preliminary”.
“This is a statistic for all the areas affected by the floods, and the city of Derna recorded the largest number,” he told Anadolu Agency.
Meanwhile, Libya’s rival eastern administration said 5,300 bodies have been counted in Derna alone so far, with that number expected to rise and even double.
The sea at Derna is “constantly dumping dozens of bodies”, said Hichem Chkiouat, the minister of civil aviation in the eastern administration.
He appealed for international help, saying Libya does not have the experience to deal with a disaster of this magnitude.
Photos: The aftermath of a powerful storm and deadly floods in Libya
Massive destruction has shattered the Libyan coastal city of Derna, home to about 100,000 people, where multistorey buildings on the river banks collapsed and houses and cars vanished in the raging floodwaters.
The floods were caused by torrential rains from Storm Daniel, which made landfall in Libya on Sunday after earlier lashing Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey.
Derna, 250km (150 miles) east of Benghazi, is ringed by hills and bisected by what is normally a dry riverbed in summer, but which has turned into a raging torrent of mud-brown water that also swept away several major bridges.