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Business News/ News / Libya: Over 5300 presumed dead, thousands missing after two dams collapse due to heavy rains. 10 latest updates
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Libya: Over 5300 presumed dead, thousands missing after two dams collapse due to heavy rains. 10 latest updates

Over 5,300 people presumed dead after dams collapse in northeastern Libya due to severe rainfall.

A satellite photo captured by Planet Labs PBC depicts the extensive flooding in Derna, Libya, on Tuesday, September 12. (AP)Premium
A satellite photo captured by Planet Labs PBC depicts the extensive flooding in Derna, Libya, on Tuesday, September 12. (AP)

In Northeastern Libya two dams collapsed due to heavy rainfall, further inundating already flooded regions. According to Libya's eastern government's interior ministry, as reported by state broadcaster LANA, at least 5,300 people have lost their lives. Death toll may escalate, with reports of around 10,000 individuals still missing.

1. Othman Abduljalil, the health minister in Libya's eastern administration, disclosed that the number of missing persons in the severely affected eastern city of Derna could be as high as 6,000. After surveying the city on Monday, he characterised the situation as “catastrophic."

2. The destruction struck Derna and other parts of eastern Libya on Sunday night. As the storm lashed the coast, the city's residents heard loud explosions, signifying the collapse of dams outside the city. Flash floods surged down the Wadi Derna, a river flowing from the mountains through the city and into the sea.


Also read: Libya LIVE Updates: Floodwater in Derna leaves streets laden with dead bodies, overturned cars, collapsed buildings

3. Hospitals in the city are no longer functional, and mortuaries are overwhelmed, as per Osama Aly, a spokeswoman for the Emergency and Ambulance Service. She informed CNN that deceased individuals had to be placed on pavements outside the mortuaries. Authorities suspect that entire neighbourhoods in the city have been wiped away. Floods damaged or destroyed numerous access roads to the city.

4. Videos depicting submerged cars circulated on social media, collapsed structures, and torrents of water coursing through the streets. The city of Derna, in particular, found itself "completely cut off" from the outside world after the breach of two aging dams.

Also read: Morocco earthquake death toll rises to 2,800 as search for survivors continues

5. This relentless rainfall is a consequence of the remnants of a powerful low-pressure system, officially named Storm Daniel by the national meteorological organisations of southeastern Europe, reported CNN.

6. Assistance from outside was slow to reach Derna, with over 36 hours passing since the disaster. Airplanes arrived on September 12 in Benghazi carrying aid and rescue teams from Egypt, Turkey and United Arab Emirates. Germany, France and Italy will be sending rescue personnel and aid.

7. The actual toll is anticipated to be much higher, possibly in thousands, as reported by Tamer Ramadan, Libya envoy for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Ramadan revealed that over 40,000 people have been displaced, and he stated that at least 10,000 individuals remain missing. 

Also read: Binance Charity to airdrop $3 million in BNB to Morocco earthquake victims. Details here

8. According to Libya's National Meteorological Centre, early warnings were issued for Storm Daniel, an "extreme weather event," 72 hours prior to its occurrence. It had recorded a record 414.1 millimeters (16.3 inches) of rain in Bayda from Sunday to Monday.

9. Climate scientist Karsten Haustein suggested that Storm Daniel brought a deluge of 440 millimeters (15.7 inches) of rain to eastern Libya in a short span, potentially overwhelming the infrastructure. Neglect of Derna's infrastructure over the years has compounded the impact of this disaster.

10. Last week, Storm Daniel wreaked havoc in Greece, causing widespread flooding, before traversing into the Mediterranean and evolving into a tropical-like cyclone referred to as a “medicane." 

(With agency inputs)

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Published: 13 Sep 2023, 08:00 AM IST
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