Unveiling Libya’s Catastrophic Tragedy: Unraveling the Devastating Floods and Dam Collapse Unleashing Unprecedented Death Toll.


Devastating Floods in Eastern Libya: Death Toll Rising and Urgent Health Crisis

As the United Nations estimated 11,300 people were killed by floods that devastated eastern Libya last week, efforts are underway to sterilize affected areas amid fears of an epidemic outbreak. With another 10,000 people missing and fears that up to 20,000 people could be dead, the situation remains grim in flood-stricken cities, including Derna.

The Catastrophic Impact

The floods wreaked havoc on Derna after two dams burst, causing massive destruction and loss of life. The disaster struck overnight, catching many people unaware and resulting in entire families being swept away. Reports have emerged of the tragic loss of life, leaving survivors devastated.

The aftermath of the floods has left the locals facing difficult decisions. They must choose between staying in the contaminated and disease-prone areas or fleeing and facing the danger of displaced landmines, washed away by the floods.

Mohamed Wanis Tajouri, a medical student, arrived in Derna from Benghazi to assist with disinfection and sterilization work, emphasizing the increased risk of epidemics following floods.

The UN estimates that over 1,000 people have been buried in mass graves, sparking concerns about water contamination and the severe mental distress faced by the families of the deceased.

The Devastating Death Toll

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that approximately 11,300 people have died in Derna, surpassing the earlier figure provided by the International Organization for Migration. While the Libyan Red Crescent, the source cited by OCHA, distanced itself from the report, OCHA stands behind it. The city’s mayor believes that the death toll may rise even further, potentially reaching 20,000.

The storm and flash floods have directly affected over 880,000 people in five provinces, indicating the scale of the destruction and displacement caused by the disaster.

Humanitarian Challenges

OCHA highlights the challenging conditions faced by the homeless who have taken refuge in makeshift shelters, schools, or the homes of relatives or friends. The floods have also displaced landmines and other dangerous remnants of previous conflicts, posing an additional risk to the thousands of displaced people on the move.

Survivors are in a state of uncertainty, unaware of what the future holds. Many are deprived of basic resources, such as water and food, further exacerbating their plight.

Investigating the Dam Collapse

The collapse of the two dams, which were built in the 1970s, will be investigated by Libya’s General Prosecutor and include inquiries into maintenance fund allocation and the responsibilities of local authorities and previous governments. The investigation faces significant obstacles due to Libya’s political divide. However, the devastation has spurred unity, with aid from both sides of the conflict being rushed to Derna.

Experts and academics have voiced concerns, pointing out that their warnings about the potential disaster went unheeded prior to the dams’ collapse. A state-run audit agency report from 2021 revealed that despite the allocation of over $2 million for maintenance in 2012 and 2013, the dams were not adequately maintained. The Turkish firm responsible for maintenance, Arsel Construction Company Ltd, completed its work in November 2012 but has not responded to requests for further comment.

While the investigation seeks to uncover the truth, the lack of accountability among those in power poses a significant challenge.

Additional reporting by agencies


Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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