In Libya, a week after the devastating storm and dam collapse disaster, two more dams may be in danger. The UN emergency agency OCHA expressed concern yesterday evening about the Jaza Dam between the partially destroyed city of Darna and Benghazi and the Kattara Dam near Benghazi.
Reports about the situation are contradictory. Authorities said both dams were in good condition and functioning. According to the authorities, pumps are being installed at the Jaza Dam to relieve the pressure on the dam, according to OCHA.
Two dam bursts caused the worst destruction in the port city of Darna on the night of last Monday. Thousands of people have died and thousands are still missing. The authorities do not yet have exact figures. Before the disaster, the city had around 100,000 inhabitants.
Rescue work overshadowed by serious accident
The rescue work was overshadowed yesterday by a serious accident: According to the authorities in eastern Libya, at least four Greek emergency workers and three members of a Libyan family were killed. 19 Greek rescuers were on their way to Darna when their minibus collided with the car of a family of five. 15 people were injured, some seriously.
The desperation among the residents is still great. Tens of thousands of people are still waiting for news about their missing relatives and for help in an emergency. According to a BBC reporter, the pungent smell of rotting corpses hangs over Darna. There were piles of concrete pieces, tires, refrigerators and cars on the beach that had been violently washed into the sea and then washed up again. Dead bodies were still being recovered from the mountains of rubble. According to Taufik al-Shukri, spokesman for the Red Crescent, survivors were also rescued from collapsed buildings on Saturday. He couldn't say how many in an interview with dpa.
Egypt sends aircraft carriers
Egypt, meanwhile, sent an aircraft carrier to provide medical care to victims. As Egypt's state information service announced, the aircraft carrier "Mistral" arrived in Libya yesterday (local time), where it will support the emergency services as a floating hospital. The Libyan online newspaper "The Libya Observer" also reported on the arrival, citing Egyptian media. Accordingly, the ship has a 900 square meter clinic including modern operating rooms.
The number of victims remains unclear even a week after the disaster. The UN Emergency Relief Office (OCHA) initially spoke of around 11,300 dead in Darna and a further 10,100 missing at the weekend. In addition, 170 deaths were reported from other regions in the east of the country. OCHA referred to the Red Crescent, as Red Cross societies in Muslim countries are often called. But the Red Crescent spokesman said he didn't know where the numbers came from. In a later version of the situation report, OCHA dropped this information. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 4,000 deaths had been identified and registered with death certificates by the end of last week.
Many roads and bridges are destroyed
More and more aid supplies are arriving through Benghazi Airport in the poor North African country, which has been marked by years of civil war. But it's hundreds of kilometers from there to the disaster area. Many roads and bridges have been destroyed and convoys carrying relief supplies are stuck in kilometer-long traffic jams, as Caroline Holt, global operations director for the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, reported on the X platform (formerly Twitter). The distribution of food, medicine, tarpaulins and other things remains difficult. According to Doctors Without Borders, helpers are urging that the operations be better coordinated.
The German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) came through. In cooperation with the communities in the towns of Shahat and Bayda, they distributed baby food, tents, generators, blankets and water, as the German ambassador to Libya, Michael Ohnmacht, reported on X.
More than 40,000 people without a place to stay
According to estimates by the UN Organization for Migration (IOM), a total of more than 40,000 people have lost their homes. The number is probably significantly higher. Counts have not yet been possible in many of the hard-hit areas.
Concerned about the spread of diseases such as cholera, the government in the capital Tripoli ordered water companies to distribute drinking water. As of Saturday, about 150 diarrheal illnesses had been reported due to contaminated drinking water, said Center for Disease Control head Haidar al-Sajih.
The Libyan public prosecutor Al-Sedik al-Sur has started an investigation into the dam breaches. The dams were said to have cracked and money was said to have been allocated for maintenance. The public prosecutor now wants to clarify the whereabouts of the money, as he said.