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Libya devastated by Storm Daniel with over 2,300 killed, 10,000 feared missing

The United Arab Emirates and Turkey have sent aid to Libya, where more than 2,000 people have died due to severe flooding.
AFP via Getty Images

At least 10,000 people are feared missing following the recent floods in Libya and humanitarian organizations are sounding the alarm.

Dax Bennet Roque, the Norwegian Refugee Council's country director for Libya, said the situation in the North African country is “disastrous.”

“Our team in Libya is reporting a disastrous situation for some of the most impoverished communities along the north coast,” said Roque in a Tuesday press release. “Entire villages have been overwhelmed by the floods and the death toll continues to rise.”

A storm dubbed “Daniel” hit coastal areas of eastern Libya on Sunday. The official Libyan News Agency reported on Tuesday that 2,300 have been killed another 5,000 are missing in the city of Derna.

Derna, located east of Benghazi on the Mediterranean coast, was especially devastated by the storm as dams collapsed.

The death toll throughout the country is expected to grow significantly. An official from the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said that the number of missing has reached 10,000, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Some countries have pledged to help Libya with the disaster. On Monday evening, Emirati President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan ordered aid and rescue teams to be sent to Libya, according to the official Emirates News Agency.

A third Turkish plane carrying humanitarian supplies and rescuers left for Libya on Tuesday, the official Anadolu Agency reported.

Why it matters: Storm Daniel hit as Libya was still recovering from the devastating civil war that lasted from 2014 to 2020. The country also remains divided into the internationally recognized administration based in Tripoli and the eastern-based administration of Gen. Khalifa Hifter.

“The split between east and west is making the response and relief work slow down and a bit sluggish,” Libyan journalist Abdulkader Assad told the BBC on Tuesday.

As of Tuesday morning local time, there were no rescue teams in Derna, said Assad, citing local reports.

Roque appeaed to the international community to fund recovery efforts. “Communities across Libya have endured years of conflict, poverty and displacement. Humanitarian aid groups in Libya have been chronically under-funded,” he said.

A December 2022 report from the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs noted that 800,000 people in Libya were in need of assistance. The World Food Programme said in June that more than 324,000 people were specifically in need of food assistance.

Know more: The flood is not the only disaster to befall North Africa recently. On Friday, an earthquake struck Morocco, leaving more than 2,000 people dead.

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