More than 2,000 people are feared dead following a series of powerful floods in eastern Libya caused by the Mediterranean storm, Daniel.
The epicenter of the affected area appears to be the city of Derna, where the collapse of two dams resulted in the submerging of many neighborhoods.
Around 100,000 people live in Derna, which Islamist fundamentalists previously held for more than a decade.
Libya is currently divided between two rival regimes that are both supported by foreign governments and militias. The war-torn country suffers from inadequate and collapsing infrastructure due to years of war and neglect.
Prime Minister Osama Hamad who heads Libya’s eastern regime, confirmed the deadly disaster in Derna.
“The missing are in the thousands, and the dead exceed 2,000… entire neighbourhoods in Derna have disappeared, along with their residents … swept away by water,” Hamad told a local Libyan TV channel.
Local authorities have already declared the coastal city a “disaster city.”
Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, who heads the Government of National Unity (GNU) in the capital Tripoli – the internationally-recognized Libyan government and a rival of the eastern regime – announced that he had instructed state agencies to “immediately deal” with the destruction caused by the floods.
The United Nations agency in Libya reportedly assessed the situation on the ground and vowed to “provide urgent relief assistance in support of response efforts at local and national levels.”
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Libya Georgette Gagnon said she was shocked by the destructive impact of the storm in Libya.
“I am deeply saddened by the severe impact of [storm] Daniel on the country … I call on all local, national, and international partners to join hands to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the people in eastern Libya,” Gagnon wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
The natural disaster in Libya comes merely days after a powerful earthquake killed over 2,000 people in Morocco in the western part of North Africa.