The aid organization Doctors Without Borders is also supporting the victims after the catastrophic floods in Libya. An emergency team of logisticians and medical staff will arrive in the severely affected city of Darna today “to determine medical needs,” the organization announced on the X (formerly Twitter) platform. They are also bringing emergency medical equipment to treat the injured and body bags for Libya’s Red Crescent charity.

After the catastrophic floods, a state of emergency continues to prevail in the civil war country. In Darna alone, more than 30,000 people have become homeless, as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced on X. Rescue workers continued to search for the dead. Around 10,000 people are missing, but hope of finding them alive is dwindling. According to the administration in eastern Libya, more than 5,000 people were killed.

People bury relatives

Storm “Daniel”, which previously also raged in Greece, hit the North African country on Sunday. Two dams burst near the coastal town of Darna, and entire quarters of the city with around 100,000 residents were washed into the sea. Videos on social media showed convoys of vehicles carrying away the dead, while other images showed bodies floating in the sea. New drone footage also shows the dramatic situation. Entire streets of Darna are submerged in meters of mud. Helpers are searching for survivors under the masses of earth.

The aid organization Care Libya said that with water levels of up to ten meters, the area around Darna was completely destroyed and the communications and power networks were paralyzed. The mayor in Shahat spoke of around 20,000 square kilometers of flooded areas – an area about the size of Saxony-Anhalt. The affected regions were declared disaster areas.

A government spokesman in the east of the country said more than 1,000 unidentified bodies were buried in mass graves yesterday. In total, more than 3,000 people have already been buried. Aid organizations, politicians and the army expect that the number of deaths could rise even further.

More and more countries are offering help

A spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres in New York said they were working with local, national and international partners “to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance to people in the affected areas.” A UN team is on site. We are cooperating with the authorities to identify needs and support ongoing relief efforts. In addition to Darna, other cities such as Al-Baida, Al-Marj, Susa and Shahat were also affected.

The European Union has activated its civil protection mechanism and is using it to coordinate offers of assistance from the various EU countries. It also initially provided 500,000 euros in humanitarian funds. The Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) is preparing to deliver relief goods to the flood area in Libya. These were loaded into THW logistics centers in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg over the course of Wednesday, as the Bavarian THW announced. According to a spokesman, eight trucks set off in the evening towards Wunstorf near Hanover. The cargo is to be brought to Libya from the Bundeswehr base there today.

Expert: Were too careless about climate change

According to experts, the severe storms in the Mediterranean region can probably be attributed to climate change. In the last week, rainfall was measured that had never been seen before in Europe, said Kiel meteorologist Mojib Latif on Bayerischer Rundfunk. “I think we’ve been far, far too careless about climate change.” This is currently changing.

“Climate change does not just mean higher temperatures, but above all means more extreme weather, more potential for damage and, above all, a gigantic challenge,” said Latif. You can adapt to a certain extent, but there are also limits: “With such masses of water, what else do they (in Libya) want to do?”

A country weakened by civil war

Currently, two hostile governments – one based in the East, the other based in the West – are fighting for power. All diplomatic efforts to peacefully resolve the civil war, which continues to this day, have so far failed. Numerous parties to the conflict are fighting for influence after long-time ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi was violently overthrown in 2011.

According to Libya expert Wolfram Lacher from the Science and Politics Foundation (SWP), the disaster in the country is also linked to the political situation. “The reason for the extent of the disaster is the breach of these two dams above Darna,” he told ZDF. For years there has not been enough investment in the infrastructure there. “Gaddafi punished the city because insurgents had taken up arms in it.”

Although some money has always flowed in recent years, “but some of it went into the pockets of militia leaders and war profiteers.”

Darna has a long and painful history

The history of Darna dates back to Roman times. Surrounded by mountains and deserts, the port city was also shaped by the Italian occupation at the beginning of the 20th century.

However, Darna has also repeatedly been the center of conflict. The coastal city was temporarily considered an enclave of the jihadist militia Islamic State (IS). In 2019, General Khalifa Haftar’s troops completely captured Darna after months of fighting.