UAE to send aid and rescue teams to Libya amid deadly floods

Storm Daniel has swept away entire neighbourhoods and devastated coastal towns

A road damaged by a powerful storm and heavy rainfall in Shahhat city, Libya. Reuters
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The UAE will send urgent aid as well as search and rescue teams to Libya amid deadly floods that may have killed up to 2,000 people in the east of the country, President Sheikh Mohamed has confirmed.

The assistance will support Libya's efforts to mitigate the damage caused by flooding from Storm Daniel, according to a readout from Wam news agency.

“His Highness expressed his sincere condolences and sympathy to the State of Libya, its people and the families of the victims of this tragedy, wishing a speedy recovery for all the injured,” it said.

As many as 2,000 people are feared dead after Storm Daniel caused devastating floods that swept away entire neighbourhoods and wrecked homes in a number of coastal towns, Prime Minister Ossama Hamad, head of Libya's Tripoli-based government, said on Monday.

At least 150 people have been confirmed dead, according to the Libyan Red Crescent, which expects the death toll to rise to 250.

The reason for wildly differing estimates is unknown.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, sent condolences to Libya on Monday.

“May God protect Libya and its people from all harm … and maintain their security and safety,” he wrote on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

“The UAE will remain beside its brothers at all times.”

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, also sent his condolences.

“Our sincere condolences to our people in Libya for the victims of the hurricane and catastrophic floods, and we ask God for a speedy recovery for those injured,” he wrote on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

“May God protect Libya and its people from all harm.”

The floods deal a heavy blow to a country already mired by long-term conflict which has seen it divided under two ruling powers.

“I was able to flee with my family this morning,” Saleh Al Obaidi, a resident of the eastern city of Derna, told Reuters. He added that houses near a valley in the city had collapsed.

“People were asleep and woke up and found their homes surrounded by water.”

Entire residential blocks were erased along Wadi Derna, a river that runs down from the mountains through the city centre, AP reported.

Multi-storey apartment buildings partially collapsed into the mud, while local media reported power cuts across the city.

Essam Abu Zeriba, the interior minister of the east Libya government, said more than 5,000 people were thought to be missing in Derna. He said many of the victims were swept away towards the Mediterranean.

Destruction was also reported in Benghazi, Sousse and Al Bayda, where deaths have also been recorded.

A spokesman from the Libyan Presidential Council announced a three-day mourning period on Monday afternoon.

The UAE Foreign Ministry has also sent its condolences to Libya, while Qatar and Tunisia will also provide aid to flood-ravaged areas.

Storm Daniel wreaked havoc in Greece, where experts described the storm as a “once-in-a-millennium phenomenon”.

Updated: September 12, 2023, 11:23 AM