More than 3000 people, including 145 Egyptian nationals, died in Libya due to torrential rains and floods caused by the Mediterranean storm “Daniel”, which hit the region on Sunday night, according to the Libyan Red Crescent Society. The storm affected several cities in the east of the country, where the rainfall exceeded 400 millimetres. The number of those stranded in the affected areas reached 7 thousand families, and many people were reported missing, especially in Derna, which was cut off from communication and electricity.
The Libyan Ambulance and Emergency Service said that entire neighbourhoods in Derna were levelled by the floods, and that the lack of maintenance of the dams had a clear impact on the floods. It also said that every minute without air support to search for the missing led to a new death. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies estimated that about 10,000 people were missing after the floods.
Several countries rushed to provide urgent assistance to the affected areas. On Tuesday, Lieutenant-General Osama Askar, Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces, and a high-level military delegation arrived in Libya to establish a continuous airlift, which will begin with sending three military planes carrying medical and food supplies, as well as 25 rescue crews equipped with technical equipment.
Algeria and Tunisia also announced their readiness to help Libya. Turkey said that it would send three planes to transport a rescue team and humanitarian aid to Libya. Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani directed that urgent aid be sent to Libya. UAE’s President Mohammed bin Zayed expressed his country’s readiness to operate an air bridge to help all affected cities and regions.
The storm, named “Daniel”, brought the heaviest rainfall in the region in more than 40 years. It caused heavy rains and an increase in wind speed in several cities, such as Benghazi, Al-Marj, Al-Bayda, Shahat, Sousse and Derna, and flooded many valleys.