Libyan Flood Survivor Recounts Horror After Dams Burst

A Tale of Tragedy and Resilience in the Wake of Catastrophic Flooding

Libyan Flood : The Devastating Deluge

As the world watched in shock, two dams collapsed, unleashing a catastrophic libyan flood that swept through the streets of Derna, a city in Libya. This natural disaster left a trail of destruction, carrying away both buildings and lives. Among those who survived the ordeal was Ruba Hatem Yassine, a 24-year-old woman who, along with her pregnant sister and older relatives, narrowly escaped the relentless floodwaters.

Rooftop Escape

With a neighbor’s ladder, they clambered to the safety of a rooftop as the deluge surged below them. Desperate to evade the rising waters, they leaped from rooftop to rooftop along their narrow street. Ultimately, they found refuge in a small storage unit on one of the rooftops, where they watched helplessly as the city succumbed to the overwhelming flood.

Heart-Wrenching Screams

The sounds of their trapped neighbors, either submerged in water or buried under debris, echoed through the air. “Save us, save us,” cried out those who were trapped. Ms. Yassine and her family, unable to provide assistance, could only listen in agony.

Libyan Flood
A group of firefighters walking down a dirt road.. Photo – New York times

The Grim Toll

Libyan authorities reported more than 10,000 people missing, with the death toll surpassing 5,000. The mayor of Derna, Abdulmenam Al-Ghaithi, grimly warned that the final toll could reach up to 20,000, given the widespread devastation across the city.

A Nation Unprepared

Libya, a nation divided by civil war and political strife, was ill-prepared for the wrath of Storm Daniel, which wreaked havoc along its coastline, exposing the vulnerabilities of its poorly maintained infrastructure.

A Divided Nation

The political divisions in Libya between the western and eastern regions further complicated the rescue and aid efforts. With a fragmented government structure, accessing the hardest-hit city of Derna remained a formidable challenge for international aid organizations.

Urgent Aid Needed

Despite the hurdles, aid began to trickle into the eastern half of the country. However, damaged roads and bridges hampered access to Derna, leaving the city in desperate need of support. Over 34,000 people have been displaced, adding to the urgency of the situation.

The Dam Failures

The collapse of two dams highlighted the dire state of Libya’s infrastructure. Concerns were raised about the Jaza dam, which stood on the brink of collapse, and another dam, the Qattara, near Benghazi. Maintenance and relief efforts became essential to prevent further disasters.

The Aftermath

The flooding resulted from heavy rains that breached the dams, causing widespread destruction across Derna. Homes, schools, and mosques were swept away as entire neighborhoods succumbed to the relentless force of the water.

A Plea for International Help

The Derna City Council called for the establishment of a maritime passageway to facilitate aid delivery and urged for urgent international intervention. Rescue teams and aid groups worked tirelessly to reach the city, despite challenging conditions.

Climate Change’s Role

As with many natural disasters, climate change played a role in the Mediterranean Sea’s storms. Rising sea levels and expanded waters contributed to flooding along Libya’s low-lying coastal areas, where a significant portion of the population resides.

The Search Continues

Libya’s Red Crescent volunteers tirelessly searched for thousands of missing people, combing fields, trails, and riverbanks. The group published a growing list of survivors from Derna, highlighting the urgent need for support and assistance.

International Response

The international community’s help is vital to address the overwhelming needs in Libya. Organizations like the United Nations and the Libyan Red Crescent are mobilizing resources and aid, but the challenges remain immense.

The Libyan people, devastated by this disaster, are looking to the world for support in their time of need.

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