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Tragedy Strikes Libya: Flood Survivors Search Amidst Devastation

Tragedy Strikes Libya: Flood Survivors Search Amidst Devastation

Tragedy Strikes Libya
Aerial view of Derna city, in the aftermath of the floods in Derna, Libya on September 14, 2023. | Photo Credit: Reuters

In a heartbreaking turn of events, the city of Derna in Libya is reeling from the aftermath of a catastrophic flood that swept away its heart, leaving survivors in anguish and authorities grappling with an unprecedented tragedy. Here’s a closer look at the devastating situation:

The Torrential Deluge

A formidable storm unleashed a torrent that broke dams and surged down a seasonal riverbed bisecting Derna. In its relentless path, it swallowed multi-storey buildings, carrying sleeping families to a watery grave. The scale of destruction is unimaginable, with entire sections of the city submerged.

Survivors are now left to sift through the debris in a desperate quest to find their loved ones among the thousands dead and missing. It’s a heart-wrenching scene as families scour hospitals and schools, hoping for a glimmer of hope. Usama Al Husadi, a devastated father, has been relentlessly searching for his wife and five children, but to no avail.

A City in Mourning

The death toll, though yet to be accurately determined, is staggering, with thousands confirmed dead and thousands more missing. Derna’s Mayor, Abdulmenam al-Ghaithi, fears that the toll could reach a devastating 18,000-20,000, given the sheer extent of the damage. The city now faces the grim prospect of a disease outbreak from the presence of decaying bodies under the rubble and in the water.

International Response

In the face of this humanitarian crisis, international rescue teams from Egypt, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Qatar have rushed to provide assistance. Turkey dispatched a ship carrying equipment for field hospitals, while Italy sent planes and navy ships laden with supplies and personnel. The rescue efforts, however, are hampered by the political fractures that have plagued Libya since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

A Divided Nation

Libya remains a nation in turmoil, with no central government holding nationwide authority. A Government of National Unity (GNU) based in Tripoli contends with a parallel administration in the east under the control of the Libyan National Army led by Khalifa Haftar. The rifts and conflicts have hindered cohesive relief efforts and further complicated the situation.

Scenes of Devastation

From elevated vantage points above Derna, the once bustling city centre is now a sprawling expanse of debris and muddy waters. The beaches are strewn with the remnants of homes, from clothes and toys to furniture and shoes. Streets are mired in mud, with uprooted trees and hundreds of wrecked cars adding to the chaos. It’s a haunting landscape of loss and despair.

As the people of Derna grapple with this unfathomable tragedy, the world watches, and rescue efforts continue in the hope of saving lives and providing some solace amidst the ruins.

Source: The Hindu

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