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    HomeNewsAfrica‘It’s like doomsday’: More than 5,000 dead after Libyan floods

    ‘It’s like doomsday’: More than 5,000 dead after Libyan floods

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    A view of devastation in disaster zones after the floods caused by the Storm Daniel ravaged the region in Derna, Libya on September 12, 2023.



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    1. More than 5,300 people have died after floods in the Libyan city of Derna, a local minister says
    2. The number could double, the minister for the eastern administration adds
    3. The floods burst two dams in the eastern coastal city and swept away homes
    4. Streets are covered in mud and rubble and are littered with upturned vehicles
    5. “They say it’s like doomsday,” says one Libyan journalist. “The water took the ground beneath them”
    6. Libya is divided between two rival governments, with one operating from Tripoli and another one in the east

    Edited by Dulcie Lee and Basillioh RukangaGet involved

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    1. Posted at 18:4518:45Hospitals are overwhelmed – IRCMany clinics and hospitals in eastern Libya are overwhelmed with those injured in the floods, the charity International Rescue Committee says.Some patients are being evacuated to other cities, but with phone lines down and roads and bridges destroyed, medical rescue efforts to affected areas are proving difficult, the organisation says.“Ambulances are in need of repair, physical access challenges and needs for logistical support are making it difficult for health volunteers to reach affected areas,” Elie Abouaoun, charity’s country director, says.“There are also fears about the possibility of waterborne diseases taking hold.”Article share tools
    2. Posted at 18:2418:24We will only accept ‘necessary aid’ – Libya’s PMJordanian military personnel arranges relief items from the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization to be delivered to LibyaReutersCopyright: ReutersJordan’s military have been arranging aid to be delivered to LibyaImage caption: Jordan’s military have been arranging aid to be delivered to LibyaAs Libya battles with the aftermath of Sunday’s devastating flood, the prime minister of the country’s internationally recognised government – which operates from the capital, Tripoli, in the west of the country – has said foreign aid will be evaluated before being accepted.“There were multiple offers of help and we will only accept aid that is necessary,” Abdul Hamid Dbeibah says.Some aid has started to arrive in eastern Libya, where the worst-hit city Derna is located, but rescue efforts have been hampered by the political situation – the country is split between two rival governments (see our previous post for more).Selective acceptance of international aid would also ease the co-ordination of the rescue operation, Dbeibah claims.There has been criticism of Morocco for being selective in what it has chosen to accept following a devastating earthquake on Friday.Article share tools
    3. AnalysisPosted at 18:0418:04Libya’s bitter foes work together after flood devastationAmira FathallaBBC MonitoringAn upturned car among a huge amount of debris on a street in DernaReutersCopyright: ReutersThe catastrophic impact of Storm Daniel in eastern Libya has brought the country’s fragile and complex political situation to the fore.Libya is governed by rival authorities – the internationally-recognised Government of National Unity (GNU) in the west, and the parliament, called the House of Representatives, in the east.The House of Representatives has appointed its own parallel government with authority over the eastern region, where these floods have devastated the city of Derna. They are backed by the forces of powerful commander Khalifa Haftar, and control Libya’s east and south.In the run-up to the storm, the rivals announced separate precautionary measures.It was reminiscent of the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, when each side made their own plans before a national health department eventually took a more cohesive approach.But as the utter devastation has become clear, we are seeing some examples of solidarity to help flood victims across political divides, including aid planes flying east from Tripoli.This isn’t a political breakthrough yet, but it is rare to see the bitter foes working together.Article share tools
    4. Posted at 17:4717:47’We need food, milk for babies, and body bags’Gem O’ReillyLive reporterLet’s hear from Ahmed Bayram, who is part of the Norwegian Refugee Council’s response team in Libya.”The top needs for now are food, water, hygiene facilities, milk for babies, medicine for people who have lost everything they’ve had overnight,” he tells the BBC.”We will even be sending body bags. We have to start from scratch because the situation is very desperate and these people have nothing on them.”Bayram says they’re the ones on the front line once the rescue operations have taken place.”We are coordinating with local people on the ground to understand the magnitude of their needs – how many people have been killed, how many are missing.”It’s going to be a huge disaster for the Libyan people.”Article share tools
    5. Posted at 17:2817:28More than 34,000 displaced by floodsA man sits on a ruined car in front of debris and a fallen tree in a residential areaReutersCopyright: ReutersAt least 34,000 people in Libya’s flood-hit areas have been swept out of their homes, according to the UN agency International Organization for Migration.The port city of Derna, where Storm Daniel caused two dams to burst, has been most-impacted, with 30,000 residents currently displaced.The organisation said they needed shelter and non-food items, but that getting help to the affected families was challenging as most roads in the region remain flooded, obstructed or destroyed.Article share tools
    6. Posted at 17:0817:08A country in crisis since Gaddafi was overthrownGaddafiReutersCopyright: ReutersGaddafi in Tripoli in February 2011 – eight months before he was killedImage caption: Gaddafi in Tripoli in February 2011 – eight months before he was killedLibya has been in crisis since long-serving ruler Col Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in 2011.Since 2014, it has been politically split between the internationally-recognised interim government in Tripoli (in the west), and the administration in Tobruk (in the east) – which doesn’t recognise the Tripoli government.Derna, a former Islamic State stronghold during the post-Gaddafi civil war, is now mostly controlled by the eastern administration.Countries that would like to send support are having issues negotiating with the two administrations.But despite the split, the government in Tripoli has sent a plane with 14 tonnes of medical supplies, body bags and more than 80 doctors and paramedics.Article share tools
    7. Posted at 16:5716:57One dam failed – another one followedDerna, about 250km (155 miles) east of Benghazi, is surrounded by the hills of the fertile Jabal Akhdar region.Water engineering experts tell the BBC it is likely a dam around 12km (eight miles) from Derna failed first, sending its water sweeping down a valley.The torrents then overcame a second dam, closer to the city.Derna mapBBCCopyright: BBCArticle share tools
    8. Posted at 16:4916:49145 Egyptians washed out to sea are returned homeThe bodies of 145 Egyptians killed in the floods after Storm Daniel have been repatriated by the authorities in eastern Libya.They were picked up by the local coastguard after being washed out to sea from Derna.One survivor told the Tobruk Coastguard that most of them were originally from al-Sharif village in Egypt’s Beni Suef region.In accordance with Islamic rites, they were taken to a mosque in the port city of Tobruk to be cleaned before being returned home.Many Egyptians live and work across the border in Libya – mainly in the east. Egypt’s Al-Ahram news website estimates the number is 140,000 – making them the second-largest migrant group in Libya.Article share tools
    9. Posted at 16:4116:41The sea is dumping dozens of bodies – ministerMore now from Hichem Abu Chkiouat, from Libya’s eastern administration.He tells the Reuters news agency the “sea is constantly dumping dozens of bodies”, adding that reconstruction of the city would cost billions of dollars.Article share tools
    10. Posted at 16:2216:22BREAKINGMore than 5,300 dead in floods – ministerMore than 5,300 bodies have been counted in Libya’s flood-hit city of Derna so far, a minister for Libya’s eastern administration tells the Reuters news agency.Hichem Abu Chkiouat, minister of civil aviation, says the number of dead is expected to rise, and may even double.Article share tools
    11. Posted at 16:1216:12Watch: ‘My friend’s whole family is dead’Let’s stick with Johr Ali, a Libyan journalist who spoke to Radio 4’s Today programme a little earlier.In the clip below, he recalls the harrowing moment his friend found out his whole family had died in the floods:Video contenthttps://emp.bbc.com/emp/SMPj/2.50.4/iframe.htmlVideo caption: ‘My friend’s whole family is dead”My friend’s whole family is dead’Article share tools
    12. Posted at 15:5315:53’The screams of the kids, it’s like doomsday’We’ve been hearing some distressing descriptions about the situation in Libya from Johr Ali, a Libyan journalist whose family is in the country.He’s currently in Istanbul for work, and tells BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “They all say it’s like doomsday. The screams of the kids, the dead bodies around the streets.”He explains he spoke to a family who were the only ones to have survived the floods in their neighbourhood.”They described the situation when the floods went away, saying a woman was hanging in the street lights because she was taken away by the flood.”She stayed there and died there. They eye-witnessed that, they eye-witnessed their nephew dead in the streets, thrown away by water.”People say the amount of water is indescribable, Ali says.”Tens of thousands are either dead or beneath the soil. The water took the ground beneath them and threw them into the sea.”Article share tools
    13. Posted at 15:3015:30In pictures: Libya reels from devastating floodingSearch and rescue operations are continuing in Libya, let’s take a look at some of the latest photos:Emergency members work near a damaged building after a powerful storm and heavy rainfall hit Libya, in Derna, Libya, September 12, 2023ReutersCopyright: ReutersRescue workers have uncovered hundreds of bodies amid fears that the toll could spikeImage caption: Rescue workers have uncovered hundreds of bodies amid fears that the toll could spikeA destroyed car is half-buried under sand in DernaGetty ImagesCopyright: Getty ImagesDamaged buildings are seen after a powerful storm and heavy rainfall hit Libya, in DernaReutersCopyright: ReutersMulti-storey buildings on the river banks were swept away by the raging watersImage caption: Multi-storey buildings on the river banks were swept away by the raging watersEmergency teams from Libya Red Crescent  respond to the devastating floodsIFRC Middle East and North Africa/XCopyright: IFRC Middle East and North Africa/XArticle share tools
    14. Posted at 15:1715:17Flood-hit internet services restoredSunday’s floods knocked out internet and other telecoms services in many areas – but a government telecoms company says service has now been restored in many areas.The Libyan Post Telecommunications and Information Technology Company said the country’s international communications gateway had been “completely destroyed” after the floods cut off the submarine cable linking Libya to Europe.In an update late on Tuesday, the company – which operates various telecoms providers – said it’s working to restore areas that are still disconnected.Libya’s prime minister earlier instructed telecoms providers to give free communications and internet services to all citizens so they could keep in touch with their families.Article share tools
    15. Posted at 15:0715:07Libya floods: Storm Daniel forces people onto streetsVideo contenthttps://emp.bbc.com/emp/SMPj/2.50.4/iframe.htmlVideo caption: Libya floods: Storm Daniel forces people onto streetsLibya floods: Storm Daniel forces people onto streetsMuch of Libya’s eastern port of Derna is underwater after two dams and four bridges collapsed.Article share tools
    16. Posted at 14:5114:51Satellite photo reveals extent of floodingWe’ve received these side-by-side satellite photos of Derna before and after the flood hit the eastern port city.See for yourself the damage and extent of flooding:A combination image of satellite photos (2 September and 12 September 2023) shows an area before and after a powerful storm and heavy rainfall hit the country, in Derna, Libya. In the second photo much of the area is destroyed and the river has burst its banks, with muddy water flooding the seaReutersCopyright: ReutersArticle share tools
    17. Posted at 14:4414:44Vulnerable migrants among those affectedThe floods in Libya have affected many people who were already vulnerable, including thousands of migrants.There are about 600,000 migrants in Libya, according to the International Organization for Migration, some of whom are in the affected areas.“At this early stage … we don’t have a clear picture about how badly they have been affected,” says the UN agency’s spokesman Paul Dillon.Libya is a transit country for migrants from over 40 countries heading for Europe, the agency says.Overall, the World Health Organization estimates over 1.8 million people have been affected by the floods.Article share tools
    18. Posted at 14:2814:28Flooded city buries its dead in mass gravesPeople walk amid rubble and ruined buildings in DernaGetty ImagesCopyright: Getty ImagesIf you’re just catching up with what’s going on in Derna in eastern Libya, here is the latest on the devastating floods:
      • At least 2,300 people are confirmed to have died
      • But with 10,000 people reported missing, the death toll is expected to rise
      • Victims wrapped in body bags and blankets have been buried in mass graves
      • Rescue efforts continue – but have been hampered by the political situation in Libya, with the country split between two rival administrations
      • Daylight has revealed ruined neighbourhoods with streets covered in mud and rubble

      Article share tools

    19. Posted at 13:4413:44Libya floods a disaster of epic proportions – UNeople stand in a damaged road as a powerful storm and heavy rainfall flooded hit Shahhat city, Libya, September 11, 2023. REUTERSReutersCopyright: ReutersTorrential rains hit several cities in the countryImage caption: Torrential rains hit several cities in the countryThe United Nations is calling deadly floods in Libya a “calamity of epic proportions” noting the latest figures suggesting more than 5,000 people dead and about 10,000 who have been reported missing.Up to 1.8 million people are estimated to have been affected by the torrential rains that hit several cities in the country, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).Calling the disaster “epic”, WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris said “here’s not been a storm like this in the region in living memory, so it’s a great shock”.Emergency workers and residents are continuing to dig through rubble to look for survivors and the dead.The UN Secretary-General António Guterres has sent his condolences to the Libyan authorities and the families of those who have died.He said the UN was working with the authorities to assess needs and support relief efforts.Read more:Article share tools
    20. Posted at 13:3713:37Three volunteers die helping Libya flood victimsVolunteers from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have been evacuating survivors of the 10 September flooding in eastern Libya. The volunteers are also and providing first aid to survivors and coordinating search and rescue efforts.International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent SocietiesCopyright: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent SocietiesRed Crescent Society volunteers were among the first to conduct rescues for flood survivorsImage caption: Red Crescent Society volunteers were among the first to conduct rescues for flood survivorsThree volunteers have died while helping victims of raging floods in eastern Libya, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said.Hamdi Belaid, Khaled Adwal and Abadi Al-Kharm died while helping some of the Derna town residents trapped by the floods, Jagan Chapagain, the IFRC secretary general, said.”I express our profound sadness and send my deepest condolences to their families and our colleagues at the Libyan Red Crescent,” he said.Search and rescue operations are continuing and some 10,000 are reported missing.Article share tools


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