On September 10, Libya was hit by a catastrophic storm which wiped out numerous houses in Cyrenaica. Thousands of people died, and the devastating effects of the calamity will remain alive in the lives of Libyans for decades.
The most affected Libyan cities were Benghazi, Bayda and Derna. The worst was Derna, which it was the hardest hit after two dams burst upstream from the city, releasing over 30 million cubic meters of water that tore through the city of about 100,000 inhabitants.
The authorities declared that the dams had not been maintained for more than two decades, and the infrastructure was not built to withstand the effects of this week’s floods. The lack of involvement of the state in problems related to the infrastructures of the cities and the life of the Libyans, represents one of the devastating effects of the internal conflict that has been grinding the country since the fall of the Gaddafi regime.
According to the World Health Organization, over 5,000 people died in the floods and around 10,000 are still missing. Floods also displaced dozens of thousands of people while assessments are still ongoing. There are displaced families now living in the eastern city of Tobruk, about 67km (42 miles) to the southeast and also in the capital, Tripoli, which is 1345km (836 miles) away.
The EU deployed a humanitarian expert to assess people’s needs beyond the city of Derna as well as environmental experts to be associated with the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team operating on the ground.
The assistance offered by Member States includes medical teams, shelter items, heavy machinery, rubble removal trucks, search and rescue helicopters, technical experts, and other vital support.
Despite access challenges, the aid reached the most severely affected areas, in close coordination with the authorities.
EU continues monitoring the situation and stands ready to provide further assistance if needed.