Libya Floods

Libya Floods

News: The death toll in Libya’s eastern port city of Derna has soared to 11,300 after torrential rains caused flooding on September 10 that burst dams and swept away buildings. About 10,100 people are still missing in the Mediterranean city.

What factors contributed to the floods?

Extreme Weather
• In Derna, where average monthly rainfall in the whole of September is under 1.5 mm, rainfall exceeded 150 mm in about two days.
• The rains were accompanied by strong winds of up to 80 kph which were produced by Storm Daniel, also known as Cyclone Daniel. The Mediterranean sea has been warmer by 2 to 3 degree Celsius this summer and it has contributed to the intensification of the storm.

Vulnerable geography
• The floods seem to have caused the most destruction in Derna which is a coastal city.
• It is situated at the end of a valley and bisected by the Wadi Derna, a seasonal river that flows from mountains to the south and is usually protected from flooding by dams. However, 2 dams had collapsed causing widespread destruction.

Crumbling infrastructure
• The collapse of the two dams in Derna highlights the dilapidated infrastructure of Libya. The country has been gutted by a war between two rival factions for more than a decade. In the tussle for power, focus on socio-economic issues, including maintaining and developing infrastructure has been put on the backburner.
• As flooding is quite rare in the region, there are no flood-resilient structures or roads in the country, especially in Derna.

Key Terms/Places to remember:

• A “medicane”, which is an amalgamation of the words Mediterranean and hurricane, is a rare but destructive weather phenomenon that scientists believe will intensify in a warming world.
• Medicanes tend to form over parts of the Mediterranean Sea near the north African coast, are similar to hurricanes and typhoons although they can develop over cooler waters. They can also bear a physical resemblance on satellite imagery as a swirling mass of storm clouds surrounding an eye in the middle.

Which were the dams that collapsed in Libya?
• Al-Bilad dam and Abu Mansour Dam

Other important places:
• Al-Akhdar moutains in Libya

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