Thousands Believed To Be Dead After Floods in Libya

( – For the East Coast of the United States, hurricane season starts on June 1 and runs through November. Every year, potential hurricanes, tropical storms, and tropical depressions spin off the horn of Africa toward the United States. The western part of the US also experiences tropical storms to a lesser degree every year, but such weather in the Mediterranean is even less likely. Still, tropical storms occasionally develop in the Mediterranean Sea, endangering every country in its path. On September 11, severe weather named Storm Daniel swept over Libya, bringing a tremendous amount of rain to the area and deadly floods.

More Details

Storm Daniel was so powerful, it broke dams in the country, washing away entire neighborhoods in towns close to the sea. The hardest hit was Derna, an area previously held captive by Islamic extremists. Two days later, CBS News reported that officials in eastern Libya confirmed they found over 1,000 bodies in collapsed buildings. The Interior Ministry spokesperson updated the death toll in Derna to above 5,300 from the floods. There are as many as 10,000 or more people still missing, meaning the devastation is likely far from over. Libyan Minister of Health Othman Abdel Jalil asked friendly countries to assist in the recovery efforts.

Reuters reported it had journalists on the ground in Libya witnessing the devastation. They reported seeing bodies lying on the floor in the halls of the hospital as more bodies arrived. People were scanning the victims, seeing if they could identify their loved ones. Minister of Civil Aviation Hichem Abu Chkiouat said a quarter of the city is completely gone, and “bodies are lying everywhere.”

What Now?

First responders, government workers, volunteers, the military, and people who live in the area have been digging through collapsed buildings looking for survivors and recovering the dead. Other cities besides Derna were hit as well, especially in the eastern part of Libya. Susa, Shahatt, and Marj also reported an impact, as families were displaced from their homes and relocated to shelters in places like Benghazi.

Storm Daniel also claimed lives in Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria as the extreme weather made its way east about five days before hitting Libya and the surrounding areas. At least 28 people lost their lives from the torrential downpour and subsequent floods in those countries.

The US is working with its UN partners and Libyan officials to help with relief efforts. The recovery is ongoing.

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