10,000 missing, 2000 reported dead after catastrophic flooding destroys Libya dams

Catastrophe struck northeastern Libya Monday night as two dams and four bridges collapsed due to Storm Daniel’s rainfall that began Sunday.

Neighborhoods have been swept away along with their residents and the entire city of Derna is reportedly under water. Derna housed a population of over 100,000 people.

The head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies delegation in Libya, Tamer Ramadan, stated that around 2000 people are feared to be dead, and 10,000 missing in a press conference Tuesday.

Rescue efforts and emergency services have been criticized as being slow.

“There are no first-hand emergency services. People are working at the moment to collect the rotting bodies,” Anas Barghathy, a doctor volunteering in Derna, reported.

Libyan journalist, Abdulkader Assad, pointed to political chaos as a contributing factor to the slow rescue response. He told the BBC, “There are no rescue teams, there are no trained rescuers in Libya. Everything over the last 12 years was about war.”

Libya’s previous ruler, Col Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in 2011 which has since left a divide in the country.

He continued, “There are two governments in Libya... and that is actually slowing down the help that is coming to Libya because it's a little bit confusing. You have people who are pledging help but the help is not coming.”

Many officials were quick to vocalize their views on how the devastation could have happened in such magnitude.

“The weather conditions were not studied well, the seawater levels and rainfall [were not studied], the wind speeds, there was no evacuation of families that could be in the path of the storm and in valleys,” Osama Aly, the head of Libya’s Emergency and Ambulance authority, told CNN.

The flooding was reportedly tsunami-like and flattened structures in its path.

Speaking on what could have caused such intense rainfall, climate scientist Karsten Haustein told the Science Media Center, “The warmer water does not only fuel those storms in terms of rainfall intensity, it also makes them more ferocious.”

Image: Title: Libya flooding