The coastal city of Derna has been devastated by the aftermath of Cyclone Daniel, resulting in a tragic loss of life and extensive destruction. The Libyan Minister of Civil Aviation, Hisham Shkiwat, who is also a member of the emergency committee, provided a grim assessment of the situation on Tuesday.
Shkiwat revealed that approximately 25% of the city of Derna appears to have vanished in the wake of Cyclone Daniel. He described the catastrophe as unprecedented, with no comprehensive tally of casualties available at this time. “We have recovered over a thousand bodies in Derna after the floods,” he said in a telephone interview with Reuters. “The death toll is enormous, and bodies are scattered everywhere. Many buildings have collapsed.”
Tragically, medical sources in Libya have reported that around 2,800 people have lost their lives due to the floods that ravaged several cities in eastern Libya following the impact of the Mediterranean cyclone, Daniel. This disaster has left a profound impact on communities along the eastern coast.
The Libyan Presidential Council declared Derna, Shahhat, and Al Bayda in Cyrenaica as disaster-stricken areas due to the severe flooding that engulfed these regions. The catastrophe unfolded as dams in the Derna area collapsed, sweeping entire neighborhoods and their residents into the sea.
Ahmed al-Mismari, the spokesperson for the Libyan army, conveyed during a televised press conference that the disaster was triggered by the dam failures in Derna. This event has left between five to six thousand people unaccounted for, adding to the extensive human tragedy caused by Cyclone Daniel’s fury.
The situation in Libya remains dire as authorities and relief agencies struggle to cope with the enormity of the disaster, with search and rescue operations ongoing and efforts to provide aid to the affected population intensifying.