IOM says Libya floods displace more than 43,000 people

The floods in Libya, which resulted in thousands of casualties in the city of Derna, also forced over 43,000 people to flee their homes, as reported by the International Organization for Migration on Thursday.

A flash flood of tsunami proportions breached two aging river dams located upstream from the city on September 10, following heavy rainfall in the region.

Flooding destroyed entire neighbourhoods, tragically claiming the lives of countless individuals who were swept into the Mediterranean Sea.

The official death toll currently exceeds 3,300 individuals; however, the final count is anticipated to be considerably higher, with international aid organizations estimating that as many as 10,000 people may remain unaccounted for.

“An estimated 43,059 individuals have been displaced by the floods in northeastern Libya,” the IOM said, adding that a “lack of water supply is reportedly driving many displaced out of Derna” to other areas.

“Urgent needs include food, drinking water and mental health and psychosocial support,” it said.

Mobile and internet services, which were disrupted for two days, have been restored as of Thursday. The disruption occurred in the aftermath of protests on Monday, during which frustrated residents held the authorities accountable for the substantial death toll.

The national telecom company explained that the communication outage was due to a break in the optical fiber connection to Derna. However, some internet users and analysts have alleged that it was a deliberate “blackout” orchestrated by authorities.

Earlier this week, the United Nations issued a warning about the potential for disease outbreaks, which could exacerbate the already dire situation in the flood-affected regions, constituting a “second devastating crisis.”

Local authorities, aid organizations, and the World Health Organization have expressed concern regarding the elevated risk of disease outbreaks, particularly stemming from contaminated water sources and the absence of proper sanitation facilities, according to the United Nations.

Libya’s disease control centre warned that mains water in the disaster zone is polluted and called on residents not to use it.

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