Unprecedented floods in Libya caused by an unusually fierce storm named “Daniel” have devastated the country, resulting in a staggering death toll of 5,500 confirmed deaths and 9,000 missing individuals, according to reports by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Tragically, the organization has revealed that most of these deaths could have been prevented.
The catastrophic floods, triggered by the bursting of two dams, pulverized entire neighborhoods and swept away countless families. The lack of a proper meteorological service in Libya has been identified as a core reason for the failure to issue timely warnings and adequately carry out evacuations. Although the National Meteorological Center in Libya did issue flood warnings 72 hours prior to the disaster, it remains unclear whether these warnings were heeded.
As the torrents continue to rage, there is a very real concern that the death toll could increase exponentially. The force of the floods has the potential to quadruple the already devastating number of casualties. Aid organizations are now working tirelessly to coordinate relief efforts. However, the scale of the destruction and the enormous number of displaced individuals poses a significant challenge.
The city of Derna has been particularly hard-hit by the catastrophe. The mayor estimates that the number of deaths in his city alone could reach a staggering 18,000 to 20,000 based on the extent of the damage. This grim estimate highlights the sheer magnitude of the tragedy and the urgent need for international assistance.
Adding to this wave of natural disasters in the region, the floods in Libya closely follow a devastating 6.8-magnitude earthquake in neighboring Morocco. The quake claimed the lives of over 2,800 people, further exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation throughout North Africa.
As rescue and relief missions persevere in Libya, it is evident that there is an urgent requirement for improved disaster preparedness and a well-equipped meteorological service. The WMO’s statements have underscored the need for prompt action to prevent future calamities of this magnitude. The international community must rally together to assist those affected and strive for a safer and more resilient future in the face of natural disasters.