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IOM: Libya Floods Displace 43,000+

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has reported that the devastating floods in Libya’s city of Derna, which claimed the lives of thousands, have also resulted in the displacement of over 43,000 people. These floods were caused by a flash flood of tsunami-like proportions that breached two aging river dams upstream of the city on September 10, triggered by heavy rainfall. The deluge swept away entire neighborhoods, and an unknown number of individuals were carried into the Mediterranean Sea.

While the official death toll currently stands at more than 3,300, it is anticipated that the final count will be significantly higher. International aid organizations have estimated that up to 10,000 people may be missing as a result of this disaster.

According to the IOM, “an estimated 43,059 individuals have been displaced by the floods in northeastern Libya.” Many of the displaced individuals are leaving Derna due to a lack of access to clean water. Urgent needs include food, clean drinking water, and mental health and psychosocial support for those affected.

In addition to the flood’s immediate impact, there have been disruptions in communication services. Mobile and internet services were restored after a two-day disruption that occurred following protests by angry residents who held authorities responsible for the high death toll. The national telecom company attributed the disruption to a rupture in the optical fiber link to Derna, but some internet users and analysts speculated that it may have been a deliberate blackout.

Furthermore, there is a growing concern about the potential for disease outbreaks in the flood-hit areas. The United Nations has warned that these outbreaks could pose “a second devastating crisis” for the affected regions. Local officials, aid agencies, and the World Health Organization have expressed particular concern about the risk of disease outbreaks resulting from contaminated water sources and the lack of sanitation facilities. Libya’s disease control center has cautioned that the mains water in the disaster zone is polluted and has advised residents not to use it.

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