Death toll in Libya’s coastal city of Derna floods soars to 11,300

Death toll in Libya’s coastal city of Derna floods soars to 11,300

Tripoli: The death toll in Libya’s coastal city of Derna has soared to 11,300 as search efforts continue following a massive flood fed by the breaching of two dams in heavy rains.

According to the Libyan Red Crescent, at least 11,300 lost their lives and another 10,100 people are reported missing in the Mediterranean city. Health authorities previously put the death toll in Derna at 5,500. The storm also killed about 170 people elsewhere in the country.

The eastern Libyan city of Derna, the epicenter of the disaster, had a population of around 100,000 before the tragedy.

Buildings, homes and infrastructure were “wiped out” when a 7-meter (23-foot) wave hit the city, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which said Thursday that dead bodies were now washing back up on shore.

But with thousands killed and many more still missing, there are questions as to why the storm that also hit Greece and other countries caused so much more devastation in Libya.

Experts say that apart from the strong storm itself, Libya’s catastrophe was greatly exacerbated by a lethal confluence of factors including aging, crumbling infrastructure, inadequate warnings and the impacts of the accelerating climate crisis.

The extreme rainfall that hit Libya on Sunday was brought by a system called Storm Daniel.

After sweeping Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria, with severe flooding that killed more than 20 people, it formed into a “medicane” over the Mediterranean – a relatively rare type of storm with similar characteristics to hurricanes and typhoons.