Deadly Storm in Libya Results in Thousands Dead or Missing

  • 14 Sep 2023

Libyan authorities are estimating that over 6,000 people have lost their lives, with another 10,000 missing after a recent powerful storm in the Mediterranean led to the bursting of dams, causing extensive damage to coastal neighborhoods.

Key Points:

  • Initial Storm and Dam Bursts: Storm Daniel struck Libya, bringing heavy rainfall and flash flooding, but the most devastating impact occurred when two dams on the Wadi Derna River burst, unleashing a destructive wall of water.
  • Long-Term Neglect in Derna: Derna, the hardest-hit city, had faced neglect for years, exacerbated by years of conflict and political instability in Libya.
  • Local authorities had discussed development plans for Derna, but little progress was made. The city's maintenance had been consistently delayed, leading to severe vulnerabilities.
  • Definition of Mediterranean Storms: A Mediterranean storm, also referred to as a Mediterranean cyclone or Mediterranean low, is a specific type of weather system that originates over the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Varied Intensity and Impact: Mediterranean storms exhibit varying levels of intensity and can have diverse impacts on the affected regions. However, a common characteristic of these storms is their tendency to bring about heavy precipitation.
  • Weather-Related Hazards: The heavy rainfall associated with Mediterranean storms often leads to several weather-related hazards, including flooding, landslides, and other adverse meteorological conditions.
  • Geographical Context: Libya is a North African country situated in the Maghreb region. It shares borders with multiple countries and is located along the Mediterranean Sea to the north.
  • Bordering Nations: Libya is bounded by several neighboring countries: Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad to the south, Niger to the southwest, Algeria to the west, and Tunisia to the northwest.