TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The death toll from the devastating floods in Libya has climbed to 6,000, and thousands are still unaccounted for, according to an official from the unity government.
In Derna alone, Libya’s eastern administration has reported 5,300 bodies counted so far, with expectations of this number continuing to rise, potentially doubling. The sea at Derna continues to wash ashore dozens of bodies, according to Minister Abu Chkiouat, the minister of civil aviation in the eastern administration, Al Jazeera reported.
Minister Chkiouat has issued an appeal for international assistance, emphasizing Libya’s lack of experience in dealing with a disaster of this scale.
The coastal city of Derna, home to approximately 100,000 residents, has suffered immense destruction. Multistory buildings along the riverbanks have collapsed, and houses and cars have been swept away by the raging floodwaters. The floods were triggered by torrential rains from Storm Daniel, which hit Libya after causing havoc in Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey.
Derna, situated 250 kilometers (150 miles) east of Benghazi, is surrounded by hills and is intersected by a typically dry riverbed in the summer. However, this riverbed has turned into a raging torrent of muddy water, sweeping away several major bridges.
In a show of national mourning, flags are flying at half-mast in Tripoli for three days.
Many blame government negligence for the catastrophe, and they hope this devastation might finally unite the country’s rival politicians.
The dams upstream from Derna, which bore the brunt of the storm, had not undergone maintenance for more than two decades. The city’s infrastructure was ill-prepared to withstand this week’s devastating floods, as stated by its deputy mayor, Ahmed Madroud.
Madroud explained that the first dam that failed stood at 70 meters (230 feet) tall. After water breached it, it built up behind the second dam, eventually causing it to burst.
Meanwhile, aid from western Libya and various countries has begun pouring into the eastern part of the nation.
Several countries have offered assistance in response to the disaster in Libya, with rescue teams from Turkey and the United Arab Emirates already present in eastern Libya. Additionally, Egypt, France, Iran, Italy, Qatar, Tunisia, and the United Nations have all expressed their readiness to provide aid.
Four major oil ports in Libya have now reopened since they were forced to shut down due to the storm, alleviating concerns about oil supply disruptions and OPEC+ production cuts. This development, however, has led to a rise in oil prices as the market balances these factors against the global economic outlook.