Death toll feared to rise after Libya Storm Daniel


Libya floods

from AHMED ZAYED in Tripoli, Libya
Libya Bureau
TRIPOLI, (CAJ News) – THE death toll following the fatal storm that has swept across Libya’s north coast, put at 2 000, is expected to rise as rescue operations continue.

The North African country is reeling from Storm Daniel, which started on Saturday and caused massive damage to cities including Abyada, Benghazi, Derna and Shahat.

Thousands are missing.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has reported the displacement of at least 410 families (or around 2 050 individuals) and 35 migrants.

Entire villages are affected after heavy damage to infrastructure and roads.

Near Derna, two dams were destroyed. It is the worst affected city, where mudslides have impacted thousands of people.

Benghazi and most of the cities in the eastern part of the country had ordered curfews and suspended schools.

Aid to Libya has shrunk over the years, with only a quarter of the needed funding for the humanitarian response met.

Many families have lost all their belongings. Search and rescue workers are looking for people missing. Tens of thousands of people are displaced with no prospect of going back home.

“Communities across Libya have endured years of conflict, poverty and displacement,” said Dax Bennet Roque, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) country director for Libya.

“The latest disaster will exacerbate the situation for these people. Hospitals and shelters will be overstretched amidst the large wave of displacement.” the official added.

A country of some 6,9 million people, Libya has been unstable since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

NRC is one of the aid agencies on the ground in Benghazi, where most of those displaced by the storm are sheltering in schools

It is looking to work with local partners to provide much-needed relief, shelter, food and drinking water.

Roque appealed for a swift response and immediate funding from international donors so agencies can reach and provide support across affected areas.

Humanitarian aid groups in Libya have been chronically under-funded.

“Now is the time to show solidarity with the people and help them on the long way back to recovery,” Roque said.

This is the second disaster to strike North Africa in recent days, following the earthquake that has left about 3 000 people dead in Morocco.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission, expressed my solidarity and compassion with the families of the victims and the missing.

“I also commend the Libyan authorities as they confront this natural disaster and call for international support to response efforts,” the Chadian diplomat stated.

Weather experts projected moderate rain at isolated areas of north-eastern Libya on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, drier conditions were forecast across the whole country.

– CAJ News










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