Over 11,300 people believed to have died in floods that ravaged Libya

 September 14, 2023

Americans were horrified earlier this week to see catastrophic floods claim over 11,300 lives in eastern Libya. 

According to the Associated Press, the flooding stemmed from Mediterranean storm Daniel having made landfall in North Africa this past weekend.

Deluge swallows city after river dams fail

The news service noted that dams near the city of Derna gave way on Sunday, causing the Wadi Derna River to unleash a deadly torrent on local residents.

Tamer Ramadan serves as Libya's envoy for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and he was quoted by the Washington Examiner as saying that at least 40,000 people have been displaced from their homes.

Libya has been in a state of disarray since former U.S. President Barack Obama led an international coalition that toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi from power in 2011.

This was then followed by nearly a decade and a half of instability which resulted in much of the country's physical infrastructure systems being neglected or destroyed.

Ongoing conflict prevented adequate warning, is hampering rescue efforts

The Associated Press reported that World Meteorological Organization head Petteri Taalas alluded to that fact during a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday.

"If there would have been a normal operating meteorological service, they could have issued the warnings. The emergency management authorities would have been able to carry out the evacuation," Taalas explained to reporters.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya also released a statement two months ago in which it complained that ongoing violence has "serious implications for the unification of national institutions."

State Department "expresses its sympathies and condolences" to flood victims

Meanwhile, the United States State Department issued a statement of its own on Monday from spokesperson Matthew Miller regarding the disaster.

It read, "The United States expresses its sympathies and condolences to those affected by the devastating flooding in Libya.

"The United States is coordinating with UN partners and Libyan authorities on how we can assist the ongoing relief efforts," Miller went on to add.

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