climate crisis

Floods in Libya: Why the damage is so severe

By Frida Dahmani, in Tunis

Premium badge Reserved for subscribers

Posted on September 15, 2023 11:30

Desolation in eastern Derna, Cyrenaica. ©AFP
Desolation in eastern Derna, Cyrenaica. ©AFP

The consequences of Storm Daniel that ravaged Derna, Libya have also been amplified by the political chaos in the country.

The hundreds of videos broadcast on television channels around the world and relayed on social networks can’t adequately measure the scale of the double disaster that has engulfed Derna, the former capital of Cyrenaica, with a population of 100,000, under millions of cubic metres of mud.

It has been cut off from the rest of the world since Storm Daniel hit eastern Libya on 10 September, also causing damage – of a lesser scale – in Benghazi, Sousse, El Beïda and El Merj.

Libya is in shock and struggling to understand what happened. Of course, this region located 1,340 km east of Tripoli had already experienced natural disasters, but never on such a scale.

The El Merj earthquake in 1963, with its 350 dead, now seems derisory compared with the 11,300 estimated dead and 10,000 missing counted on Friday by the Tripoli government’s emergency and rescue service.

“We can’t cope with the burials

There's more to this story

Get unlimited access to our exclusive journalism and features today. Our award-winning team of correspondents and editors report from over 54 African countries, from Cape Town to Cairo, from Abidjan to Abuja to Addis Ababa. Africa. Unlocked.

Subscribe Now

cancel anytime