Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024
Libya's Devastating Floods: The Shocking Truth Behind Mother Nature's Wrath, Unprepared Nation, and Crumbling Foundations

Libya’s Devastating Floods: The Shocking Truth Behind Mother Nature’s Wrath, Unprepared Nation, andd Crumbling Foundations

Libya’s Devastating Floods: The Shocking Truth Behind Mother Nature’s Wrath, Unprepared Nation, and Crumbling Foundations

Behind Libya’s devastating floods: Uncovering the trifecta of extreme weather, vulnerable geography and crumbling infrastructure

On September 10, Libya was plunged into a catastrophic crisis as torrential rains caused unprecedented flooding, killing more than 5,000 people, leaving nearly 10,000 missing, and displacing 30,000 residents in the eastern port city of Derna. Shockingly, the death toll could be even higher, possibly double, according to a regional minister quoted by Reuters.

The disaster in Libya can be attributed to the deadly convergence of three critical factors: extreme weather conditions, the city’s vulnerable topography, and crumbling infrastructure. The disaster is the most devastating flood to hit North Africa in nearly a century, prompting close investigation of the underlying causes.

Extreme Weather:

The eastern region of Libya, especially Derna, bore the brunt of the devastation caused by unprecedented deluge from 10 to 11 September. For example, Al-Bayda near Derna usually receives minimal rainfall in September. But during this period, 414.1 mm (more than 16 inches) of rain fell in just one day, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report. Cyclone Daniel, which originated in Greece, was the catalyst behind the torrential rains and winds of up to 80 kilometers per hour that also lashed Spain, Turkey and Bulgaria at the beginning of the month.

Sensitive Geography:

The catastrophic destruction of Derna can be primarily attributed to its geographical location. Located at the end of a valley and intersected by a seasonal river, the Wadi Derna, the city is generally protected from flooding by dams. However, these dams collapsed under the onslaught of Hurricane Daniel, causing flash flooding in the center of the city, submerging buildings, schools and homes.

Infrastructure failure:

The collapse of these dams underlines Libya’s dilapidated infrastructure, a result of more than a decade of conflict between rival factions. As the country struggles for electricity, maintenance and development of essential infrastructure has been sidelined. Neglected dams, desalination plants, electrical grids and roads have deteriorated throughout the country, leaving Libya unprepared to deal with natural disasters of this magnitude.

In the wake of this devastating flooding, Libya faces not only the immediate challenges of rescue and recovery, but also the urgent need for long-term investment in infrastructure and disaster preparedness to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.

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