Storm Daniel: Libya’s Political Division Slows Down Rescue Efforts
Storm Daniel has caused widespread devastation in Libya, killing an estimated 5,000 people and displacing thousands more. The Red Crescent reports that an estimated 10,000 people remain unaccounted for.
The storm brought torrential rains and flash floods. This caused widespread devastation in the eastern city of Derna, where two dams burst and four bridges collapsed.
Rescue teams still search for survivors, and the death toll is expected to rise.
The scale of the catastrophe has overwhelmed first responders. Video footage from the affected regions shows cars caught in the current. The Libyan navy and divers are engaged in recovering bodies from the sea.
International aid has begun to arrive, with Egypt taking a prominent role. Other countries extending a helping hand include the United States, Germany, Iran, Italy, Qatar, and Turkey. The help includes monetary assistance, resources, and rescue teams.
However, the lack of a unified government in Libya slows down rescue operations.
Libya currently has two rival governments. The country is in political turmoil following the overthrow and death of longtime leader Col Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. An interim, internationally recognised, government operates from the capital, Tripoli, while another government exists in the east.
Despite the political divide, the government in Tripoli has dispatched aid, including medical supplies, body bags, and medical personnel. A financial aid package of 2.5 billion Libyan Dinars is also allocated.
The country has primarily focused on warfare for the past 12 years rather than natural disaster preparedness. Therefore, the country’s institutions and infrastructure are not sufficiently equipped to handle a catastrophe of this magnitude.
The destruction of roads and bridges has also severely hindered the flow of aid and the ability to transport essential supplies to the affected areas.
An investigation has been initiated to determine the reasons behind the severe devastation caused by the floods. Preliminary assessments from water engineering experts suggest that the initial failure likely occurred in the upper dam, located approximately 12 kilometres (eight miles) from the city. This breach unleashed a torrent of water downstream towards the second dam, which was nearer to Derna, resulting in the inundation of the neighbourhoods.
Besides Derna, the cities of Soussa, Al-Marj, and Misrata were also severely affected by the storm.
Rescue workers continue to report the lack of clean drinking water and critically needed medical supplies. The city’s only hospital is overwhelmed and unable to admit more patients due to a backlog of over 700 dead bodies, far exceeding its capacity.
The UN’s World Food Programme expressed it is ready to provide food supplies for 5,000 families.
Derna is a coastal city located approximately 250 kilometres east of Benghazi. It is located amid the hills of the Jabal Akhdar region.
Storm Daniel wreaked havoc across the Mediterranean region last week. In central Greece, the storm claimed the lives of 15 people and caused record-breaking rainfall that turned streets into rivers and inundated homes.
As the storm continued its journey along the North African coast, anxiety grew among Egypt’s citizens. However, Egyptian authorities assured their people that Storm Daniel had finally begun to lose its strength.
Storm Daniel then made its way to Libya, where it unleashed a massive flood.
Scientists believe Storm Daniel bears the hallmarks of climate change. The storm’s hurricane-like features and its location in the Mediterranean Sea led to its being named “medicane”. Fuelled by abnormally warm sea water, Daniel drew immense energy from its surroundings.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.