UN report suggests most Libya flood deaths could have been prevented
A UN report underscores that Libyan authorities missed opportunities to avert a significant number of casualties in the recent disaster.
The United Nations has stated that the devastating loss of life in Libya's recent flood disaster could have been significantly reduced, had the early warning and emergency management systems been functioning properly.
Petteri Taalas, the head of the UN's World Meteorological Organization (WMO), assured that timely warnings could have been issued and emergency response teams could have evacuated people, potentially preventing most of the casualties.
"They could have issued the warnings and the emergency management forces would have been able to carry out the evacuation of the people, and we could have avoided most of the human casualties," Taalas told reporters in Geneva.
These remarks follow a catastrophic flash flood in eastern Libya, which claimed the lives of at least 5,100 individuals, with thousands more still missing and presumed dead.
The deluge, caused by the breach of two upstream river dams, left the city of Derna in ruins, causing extensive destruction and washing away countless people into the Mediterranean Sea.
"The flooding events came and there was no evacuation taking place because there was not the proper early warning systems in place," Taalas added.
Elsewhere in his remarks, he mentioned that if evacuations had been carried out, the number of human casualties would have been considerably lower.
"Of course, we cannot fully avoid economic losses, but we could have also minimized those losses by having proper services in place," he said.
It is worth noting that the National Meteorological Centre (NMC) of Libya did indeed provide advance notice of the severe weather conditions 72 hours ahead of time. They also alerted government authorities via email, urging them to implement precautionary measures. However, the WMO expressed uncertainty about whether the warnings were effectively disseminated.
Earlier today, rescue workers in the devastated Libyan city of Derna appealed for more body bags after a catastrophic flood killed thousands of people and swept many out to sea overnight on Monday.
On September 10, Libya experienced heavy rainfall due to Storm Daniel, resulting in severe flooding in the eastern part of the country.
Susah and Derna were declared disaster areas, and both air and sea ports were temporarily closed. Curfews were also imposed in several affected cities.