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Catastrophic Storm Hits Libya, Leaves At Least 2000 Dead and Thousands Missing

September 12, 2023

Mediterranean storm Daniel, which caused devastating floods in Libya on Monday, 11 September, has left at least 2000 people dead and thousands missing, senior Libyan officials stated.

The storm broke dams and shattered multi-storey buildings in multiple coastal towns in the east of the North African nation.

In a news conference, Ahmed Al-Mosmari, spokesman for Libya’s armed forces based in the east, stated that the death toll in Derna had surpassed 2,000 and indicated that there were between 5000 and 6000 reported missing. Al-Mosmari linked the catastrophe to the collapse of two dams in the vicinity, which resulted in a deadly flash flood.

Prime Minister Ossama Hamad of the East Libyan government stated that the destruction hit the eastern city of Derna, which became inaccessible.The floods have swept away entire neighborhoods in Derna, which has been declared a disaster zone.

In the eastern town of Bayda, at least 46 individuals were reported dead, as stated by Abdel-Rahim Mazek, the head of the primary medical facility in the town. Seven more casualties were reported in the coastal town of Susa in northeastern Libya, according to the Ambulance and Emergency Authority.

Another seven fatalities were reported in the towns of Shahatt and Omar al-Mokhtar, as stated by health minister Osama Abduljaleel, and one person was reported dead in the town of Marj.

Hamad announced three days of mourning and ordered flags across the country to be lowered to half-staff. Echoing this, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi also declared a three-day mourning period in Egypt on Tuesday, 13 September, in solidarity with the victims of humanitarian disasters in Morocco and Libya.

Storm Daniel reached the coast on Sunday, 10 September, prompting Libyan authorities to declare a state of extreme emergency.

United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Libya, Georgette Gagnon, said that early reports showed that dozens of villages and towns were severely affected by widespread flooding, damage to infrastructure, and loss of life.

“I am deeply saddened by the severe impact of (storm) Daniel on the country. I call on all local, national, and international partners to join hands to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the people in eastern Libya,” Gagnon wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

According to Presidential Spokesman Ahmed Fahmy, Al-Sisi expressed his condolences to the victims of the earthquake in Morocco and the storm in Libya, and directed the Armed Forces to provide humanitarian aid, including relief teams, rescue equipment, and shelter camps, in cooperation and coordination with Libyan and Moroccan authorities.

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