“The situation is tragic,” says Essam Abu Zeriba, interior minister of eastern Libya’s government.
As much as 10,000 people are missing after Mediterranean Storm Daniel unleashed torrential rains and extreme flooding in the northeast of the country.
As much as It is feared that 2,000 people have died in the city of Derna alone. where heavy rains and floods broke dams and They devastated entire neighborhoods.
Health authorities say they have so far buried 700 people in the city.
Speaking to reporters at a United Nations briefing, Tamer Ramadan, envoy to Libya of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said the country The death toll was “enormous” and was expected to reach well in the thousands in the days to come.
Here’s what we know about the extent of the devastation so far and what made this storm so deadly.
Why was the storm so powerful?
Storm Daniel first caused devastating flooding in central Greece when the system stalled in the Mediterranean Sea.
When it later moved south, it strengthened until it became a low pressure system, tropical typebefore making landfall in Benghazi on Sunday afternoon (local time).
This type of system is informally known as “Medicine” — a combination of the words “Mediterranean” and “hurricane.”
It is formed when a storm feeds on the warm waters of the Mediterranean.
“Medicans” often take on hurricane-like characteristics, with swirling clouds a central eye-like structure.
This is what the one on the eastern coast of Libya looked like when it hit:
The storm was powerful enough to cause flooding that broken dams and destroyed entire neighborhoods in multiple coastal locations.
Experts have described this event as “extreme in terms of the amount of water that falls in a 24-hour period.
This caused flood water levels to reach up to three meters in some areas.
What do we know about the extent of the damage so far?
Libya has declared three areas in its eastern province of Cyrenaica as a zone disaster zone due to the floods and has asked for international help.
The UN humanitarian coordinator for Libya, Georgette Gagnonsays early reports show that dozens of towns and cities have been “severely affected… with widespread flooding, damage to infrastructure and loss of life.”
The destruction appears to be greater in Derna – a city previously controlled by Islamist extremists who left it with inadequate and dilapidated infrastructure.
Derna has become Inaccessibleand it is believed that many of the missing people were swept away by the waters after two upstream dams burst.
Entire residential areas have been erased along a river that runs down from the mountains to the center of the city.
Multi-story apartment buildings that once stood far back from the river now lie partially collapsed in the mud.
Local media say the situation is “catastrophic” with no electricity or communications.
The Libyan Red Crescent says three of its workers have died while helping families in Derna.
Libyan Almostakbal television published images of a collapsed road between Sousse and Shahat, home of the world heritage archaeological site. Cyrene.
Hundreds of farms and crop plantations They are also feared to be ruined due to flooding.
Why is it difficult to calculate the death toll?
The exact number is difficult to determine with communications down and administration hampered by two rival governments.
They have been fighting each other for control for years and each has the support of their own militias and foreign governments.
This has greatly affected the country’s economy. development and infrastructureas well as his access to help.
The Government of National Unity is based in the capital of Libya, Tripoliand headed by the Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.
Most of the destruction caused by the storm appears to have taken place in areas controlled by the eastern government based in Benghazi and headed by Osama Hamad.
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