Two dams gave way on September 11 following heavy rainfall, allowing 30 million cubic meters (1 billion cubic feet) of water to create a seven meter wave decimating towns and people. According to the Minister of Civil Aviation, the eastern city of Derna—which has fewer than 100,000 residents—was hit the hardest with 25% of the population missing. Social media posts and images demonstrate the extent of the city’s damage. However, the full extent of the devastation remains unknown.
According to a report released on September 19 by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “destroyed bridges and blocked highways have seriously affected local food supply networks, limiting access to markets and leading to food shortages. Due to access issues, there is a lack of current, accurate data on the effects of the floods, which is delaying urgent relief efforts.”
The current death toll as of October 11 was 11,300 dead as a result of extensive flooding, however thousands of others are still missing. In eastern Libya, more than 16,000 children have been displaced, and many more suffer from a lack of basic amenities including access to safe water, healthcare, and education.
This unfortunate situation was a result of the lack of modernized infrastructure, lack of warning and preparedness, and the looming threat of climate change. The wave destroyed buildings and roads much too easily due to the lack of sound infrastructure that should have been updated decades ago. Libyans currently lack resources and adequate coverage, meaning thousands are displaced and without food. Libyans desperately need help, to donate click here.