Home » UAE Press: Derna yet another sign of deteriorating climate scene

UAE Press: Derna yet another sign of deteriorating climate scene

by Dubaiforum

ABU DHABI, 14th September, 2023 (WAM) — In a series of devastating natural disasters, northern Africa faces new turmoil as Storm Daniel unleashes heavy rain in eastern Libya, leaving a trail of destruction, a local newspaper said, adding that Morocco is also grappling with the aftermath of a recent powerful 6.8 Richter-scale earthquake.

In an editorial, Gulf Today quoted Libya’s civil aviation minister Hichem Aby Chkiouat as saying that, “The number of bodies recovered in Derna is 1,000. I am not exaggerating when I say that 25 percent of the city has disappeared. Many, many buildings have collapsed.”

He also said that the number of dead could cross 2,500 across the country. But Tamer Ramadan, head of the delegation of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said the death toll could be “huge”.

He added, “We can confirm from our independent sources of information that the number of missing people is hitting 10,000 so far.” At Derna the search is on for families that could have been swept into the sea by the storm and rain.

“There is the fear that the seasonal river that flows from the north to the south and which has been contained by dams could cause a flood as dams burst because there was no maintenance. There is already a report that a dam has burst which was seven miles upstream from Derna,” the daily added.

Hydrology expert at the University of Al-Mukhtar in a research paper written sometime back had noted that repeated flooding of the seasonal riverbed was a threat to Derna. He said in the research paper, “If a huge flood happens the result will be catastrophic for the people of the wadi (valley) and the city.” And there is a danger of flood because of the dams crumbling in the storm.

Türkiye, the United Nations and Norway are organising rescue teams. Norway’s Refugee Council said, “Our team in Libya is reporting a disastrous situation for some of the most impoverished communities along the north coast. Entire villages have been overwhelmed by the floods and the death toll continues to rise.”

“It is indeed a surprise that there should be such a series of disastrous storms in different parts of the world from the Americas to Europe to India and East Asia. There will be many saying that this is a reflection of the worsening of the global climate scene, and that storms and floods are likely to be on the increase in the coming years. The argument is being made that there is need for a global strategy to cope with disasters,” concluded the Sharjah-based daily.

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