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MASSIVE FLOODING IN LIBYA CREATES HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

Region of Concern: Libya

Written By Naomi Whipps; Edited by Elena Alice Rossetti, Iris Hautaniemi Forsberg

Date: September 11, 2023


Map of Libya[1]


Event: On September 11, massive flooding following Mediterranean Storm Daniel hit northeastern Libya. It swept entire neighborhoods into the sea with 2,000 people feared dead and more believed to be missing. Local authorities have declared the port city of Derna a “disaster city” after two dams collapsed and submerged most of the area.[2] Libya has lacked a central government since the 2011 uprising killed the then-leader Muammar Gaddafi.[3] The country has been split between rival governments since the 2014 civil war: The UN-recognized Government of National Unity acts in the west while Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army, controls the east.[4] Libya has struggled to rebuild its infrastructure and provide public services, including access to electricity, since the civil war.[5] Meteorologists have predicted Storm Daniel will move from Libya into Egypt.[6]


Significance: The flooding in Libya will almost certainly create a lasting humanitarian crisis. The lack of a unified government and deficient infrastructure from the civil war will very likely inhibit valuable government response and assistance. Civilian support for one government or the other will likely drop or rise in accordance with the government’s provided assistance. As search and rescue efforts begin across the nation, the death toll will almost certainly rise. High water levels will likely make rescue efforts extremely dangerous for relief workers. Libya will almost certainly need prolonged and expansive international aid to recover from the natural disaster. The massive destruction of homes and entire cities will almost certainly create a housing and refugee crisis. Lack of access to medical aid, clean water, food, and shelters will very likely increase casualties in the coming months. There is a roughly even chance Storm Daniel will cause flooding in Egypt, as it moves on from Libya.


Recommendations: CTG recommends Libya urgently request foreign aid and equipment to facilitate search and rescue efforts. International organizations, neighboring countries, and NGOs should offer humanitarian aid to Libya immediately. The Libyan Red Crescent should continue to provide aid and assist in search and rescue efforts while protecting their individual workers. The Red Cross should work in partnership with the Libyan Red Crescent to deliver assistance, medical resources, and food and water. The UN should push member states to provide aid to Libya and donate supplies for civilians. Foreign countries with embassies in Libya should partner with Libyan authorities to respond to the crisis. Egyptian authorities should prepare for possible flooding and evacuate citizens, when necessary.

 

[1]Map of Libya” by Burmesedays licensed under (CC BY-SA 3.0)

[2]Flooding in eastern Libya after weekend storm leaves 2000 people feared dead, AP, September 2023, https://apnews.com/article/derna-disaster-zone-libya-storm-daniel-floods-8fac4fe35b962242568ff219456c6870

[3] Libya declares emergency as Storm Daniel kills 200, BBC, September 2023, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-66773814

[4]Changing tack, UN to seek a ‘unified Libyan government’ before elections, Aljazeera, August 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/8/23/changing-tack-un-to-seek-a-unified-libyan-government-before-elections

[5]Libyan Civil War, Organization for World Peace, November 2022, https://theowp.org/crisis_index/libyan-civil-war/

[6]Catastrophe’ in Libya’s Derna as deadly floods engulf city, Washington Post, September 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/09/11/libya-derna-flooding-storm-daniel/

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