What we know about the floods that killed thousands in Libya

Abdullah Muhammad Bonga/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A view of the devastation witnessed in disaster areas after the floods caused by Storm Daniel, which swept the Derna region of Libya on Tuesday.



CNN

Emergency teams are working to find survivors and recover bodies After massive floods hit northeastern Libya Three days earlier, it had left at least 5,300 people dead and 10,000 missing.

Eyewitness footage circulated on social media showed the devastation following the floods, with roofs collapsing and cars collapsing amid the rubble of destroyed infrastructure.

Satellite images showed buildings in the most affected city of Derna, destroyed by water and sand. The coastal city’s beaches appear to have been severely eroded.

The two Libyan governments give conflicting numbers of casualties in the aftermath of the disaster.

While the government backed by the eastern parliament reported at least 5,300 people killed, the internationally recognized government in Tripoli claims more than 6,000 were killed.

Official media reported that local rescue teams were continuing to search for the missing people. The United Nations International Organization for Migration in Libya said on Wednesday that more than 30,000 people had been displaced.

Relatives of those still missing told CNN they were terrified. Others who learned of their families’ tragic fate were shocked.

A resident of Tobruk, a city to the east, told CNN that eight of his relatives died in the floods in Derna.

“My sister-in-law Areej and her husband died. His whole family died too. Eight people are all gone,” Imad Milad told CNN. “It’s a disaster. “We are praying for better things,” Milad said.

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CNN was unable to independently verify the number of dead or missing.

Here’s what we know so far:

Floods hit northeastern Libya, located on the Mediterranean coast. The worst-hit city is Derna, located about 300 kilometers (190 miles) east of Benghazi, the country’s second-largest city. The city of Derna, with a population of about 100,000 people, suffered severe damage. Entire neighborhoods are believed to have been swept away, according to authorities, and emergency response workers say hospitals are no longer functioning.

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Osama Ali, spokesman for Libya’s emergency and ambulance service, told CNN on Tuesday that morgues were packed beyond capacity, and bodies were left on sidewalks outside.

Floods were also exacerbated by two dam collapse, The authorities said on Tuesday that this led to water rushing towards Derna.

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Libya is particularly vulnerable Impacted by natural disasters, it has no unified government, but two rival administrations locked in a political standoff following a civil war that began in 2014. The country has been in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled dictator Muammar. Gaddafi.

Today, two warring parties are vying for control of the country. The UN-backed Government of National Unity, led by Abdul Hamid Dabaiba, is based in Tripoli in northwestern Libya, while its rival is controlled by Commander Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army, which supports the eastern-based parliament led by Khalifa Haftar. By Osama Hamad.

Derna and the surrounding cities that were hit by floods are under the control of Haftar and his eastern government, which is not recognized by the international community.

Analysts said that climate forecasts issued warnings days before the storm reached Libya, but the authorities in the east of the country did not move quickly enough.

Analysts said the inadequate response also comes from Libya’s lack of preparedness to confront natural disasters, which was acknowledged by the spokesman for the Libyan National Army in the east, Major General Ahmed Al-Mismari, on Tuesday.

Libya and eastern authorities ‘are not equipped to deal with this level of damage’ Al-Mismari told Al-Arabiya channel Tuesday, adding that at least three different specialized rescue teams are needed.

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Several countries said they were sending humanitarian aid to Libya, including Egypt, the UAE, Turkey, Italy and Algeria.

Analysts said that the politically fragmented situation in Libya only complicates rescue missions and the delivery of international aid. Countries must decide whether to send aid to the capital, or to the rival Haftar administration in Benghazi.

Most countries have so far sent aid to Benghazi, the closest major city to Derna and surrounding towns. But Algeria has sent its aid to the UN-recognized government in Tripoli, about 1,000 miles away.

Tamer Ramadan, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Libya, told CNN on Tuesday that the issue of competing governments in Libya does not affect its operations. He said: “We have a good relationship with officials in both governments.”

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How did the flood happen and what role did climate change play?

The heavy rainfall that devastated Derna and other cities in northeastern Libya is the result of an extremely strong low pressure system, which brought… Catastrophic floods for GreeceLast week before moving into the Mediterranean Sea and developing into a tropical cyclone known as medicine.

Such as ocean temperatures around the world Soaring off the charts Because of greenhouse emissions, the temperature of the Mediterranean Sea is much higher than average, which scientists say has led to the heavy rainfall caused by the storm.

Gamal Al-Qamati/A.B

Floods in the city of Derna, eastern Libya, on Tuesday.

“Although the role of climate change in making Storm Daniel more intense has not yet been attributed, it is safe to say that Mediterranean surface temperatures were well above average throughout the summer,” says Carsten Hosten, Climatologist and meteorologist at Harvard University. The University of Leipzig in Germany told the Scientific Media Center.

“The warmer waters not only make these storms more intense in terms of rainfall, but also make them more ferocious,” he said.

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