Libya: 30,000 homeless due to floods in Darna alone

Libya: 30,000 homeless due to floods in Darna alone

As of: September 13, 2023 2:59 p.m

Thousands of houses have been destroyed in Libya by the floods. The International Organization for Migration estimates that there are at least 30,000 homeless people in Darna alone. The UN wants to make humanitarian aid available quickly.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 30,000 people have become homeless following the devastating flood disaster in Libya – in Darna alone. The numbers referred to the port city that was particularly badly affected, as the UN organization announced. In neighboring towns, thousands of people also lost their roofs over their heads.

It is feared that the number of deaths in the disaster areas will continue to rise. On Monday night, two dams in eastern Libya near Darna burst and washed entire neighborhoods into the sea. A spokesman for the interior ministry of the eastern Libyan government said that more than 5,300 people had died in the port city alone. Around 10,000 people are missing.

UN and EU launch aid

To support the local people, the United Nations is mobilizing aid for Libya. We are working with local, national and international partners “to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the people in the affected areas,” said a spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres. A UN team is on site. We are cooperating with the authorities to determine needs and support ongoing relief measures.

The EU has activated its Civil Protection Mechanism to help Libya after severe floods. The EU has provided 500,000 euros in emergency humanitarian aid and is coordinating the offers of help from individual EU states, said Commissioner Janez Lenarcic, who is responsible for crisis management, in Brussels. “I would like to thank the EU states that have already offered shelter, generators, food and other vital assistance,” Lenarcic said. According to EU information, Germany, Romania and Finland have so far provided aid through the EU mechanism. “The EU stands ready to further increase the scope of aid measures,” said Lenarcic.

Federal Government gives four million

The federal government is also providing further assistance. The Federal Development Ministry is providing an additional four million euros at short notice. “Our thoughts are with the people in Libya affected by the terrible flood,” said Minister Svenja Schulze in Berlin. “We will not leave them alone to deal with the disaster.”

The Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) is also preparing to deliver relief goods to the flood area. Since goods are constantly being stored for such requests, tents with lighting, camp beds, blankets, sleeping mats and power generators can now be made available at short notice, said THW President Sabine Lackner. Libya had therefore made a corresponding international request for help on Wednesday night.

Specifically, 100 tents with lighting, 1,000 camp beds, 1,000 blankets, 1,000 sleeping mats and 80 power generators are to be delivered. The material is currently being compiled in THW logistics centers in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. According to a THW spokeswoman, it is not yet clear when exactly the relief supplies will be flown to the disaster area.

Entire blocks of flats torn away

Darna was captured in 2019 by units of the influential General Khalifa Haftar. He controls large areas in eastern Libya. The port city was already mentioned by name in ancient times. Large parts of the modern infrastructure were built during the time of former ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi – including the now destroyed dam above the city.

Residents of the city posted videos of the massive destruction on the Internet. Entire blocks of flats on the banks of the Wadi Darna river were demolished. Multi-story houses that had previously stood at a significant distance from the river had partially collapsed and were buried under a layer of mud. A resident of Darna, Ahmed Abdalla, said that after the dams burst, a wall of water rushed toward the city center, wiping out everything in its path.

Rescue workers continue to search for survivors on site. Because of the masses of water, many areas are still cut off from the outside world. Images from the war-ravaged country show the extent of the damage. In addition to Darna, cities such as Al-Baida, Al-Marj, Susa and Shahat are affected. The affected regions were declared disaster areas.

Financial commitments between enemies

The political situation in Libya has been characterized by conflict for years: two hostile governments – one based in the east, the other in the west – are fighting for power. The United Nations-recognized government in the capital Tripoli promised millions in aid for the disaster areas – even though it does not control the area. Aid convoys made their way east from Tripoli.

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