April 21, 2024

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Guardian Aid reinforcements, weather events, grim toll… What we know about the Libyan tragedy

Guardian Aid reinforcements, weather events, grim toll… What we know about the Libyan tragedy

Floods in Libya have left thousands dead and missing. French civil defense was sent to the scene this week as reinforcements.

Efforts to find thousands of people swept away by mudslides have resumed in Derna, northeastern Libya. The Hurricane Daniel’s destructive path, Sunday has already claimed at least 3,800 deaths in the city of 100,000, according to local officials. Abou Chkiouat, a member of the executive ruling East Libya, also reports 5,300 deaths. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) meanwhile, reports at least 30,000 displaced people.

Thousands of injured should be treated as soon as possible. The Red Cross was quick to warn that “humanitarian needs far exceed the capabilities of the Libyan Red Cross and the government,” as France responded to calls from Germany, the United States, Egypt, Qatar, Iran and Italy. For international assistance.

We are airlifted to a 1,000 m2 autonomous hospital system, a rapid civil defense element (Escrim) for medical intervention.

The Paris pledge was immediately implemented. “We are deploying rapid civil defense elements (Escrim) for medical intervention, a 1,000 m2 autonomous hospital structure, transported by air, Civil Defense informed us on Wednesday. The system will be armed with 53 people, 39 rescue firefighters of UIISC7. 14 firemen from Brignolls and Card.”

A first team had already arrived at the site to carry out reconnaissance, while the second was preparing to depart on Wednesday, September 13. The last is to follow this Thursday, September 14.

An autonomous hospital

Civil Security, looking for a site to deploy its sprawling tent hospital, wanted to position itself as close as possible to the victims. “Eskrim can provide 100 consultations per day, we have 14 hospital beds, an operating room, a recovery room, a laboratory, a delivery room, a stock of medicines and medical equipment,” they explain to us at Civil Security.

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A unique unit of this type was used during the Feb. 6 earthquake in Turkey and Syria that claimed more than 50,000 lives.

A sight of horror

Another sight of horror awaits in Libya, where at least a quarter of the city of Derna has been submerged under water, sweeping away buildings and civilians with them.

A storm hit Libya’s Mediterranean coast over the weekend, breaching two old dams near Derna. According to local officials, the number has already doubled dramatically.

Sea “continually brings back dozens of bodies”

About 10,000 people are missing, many of whom may have been swept out to sea. The sea “continually brings back dozens of bodies,” laments Abo Chiovat.

Journalists who visited Terna on Tuesday found many corpses lying in hospital corridors. Residents looked under the covers in search of their missing loved ones, while rescuers brought in more and more dead.

Humanitarian aid convoys, bulldozers and armored personnel carriers

One resident, Mustafa Salem, explains that he has already lost 30 members of his family. In Terna, where humanitarian aid convoys and trucks carrying bulldozers were driven in on Wednesday, international aid is trying to organize itself.

Satellite images taken before and after the disaster show the extent of the damage. A river running through the center of the city grew in size and the buildings along it simply disappeared. Many neighborhoods were also affected and flooded.

A divided country

Relief efforts have been complicated by political and institutional divisions in Libya, with two competing governments, one officially recognized by the international community in Tripoli and the other installed in Benghazi, the country’s largest city in the east, where Terna is located.

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A country affected by a “drug” weather phenomenon

Fabio D’Andrea, Climatologist at CNRS, Director of Research, one of the heads of the Laboratory of Dynamic Meteorology at the École normale supérieure. He answers our questions.

What do we know about the Daniel weather event that produced this deadly flood in Libya?
We call it “Medicine” (an abbreviation of the English Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean and hurricane, hurricane) because, looking at satellite photos, something in it rotates with an eye, it looks like a hurricane. The real driver of these Mediterranean cyclone events (which occur only one to three times a year, but may become more intense under the effects of global warming) is ocean temperature.
They are abundant in the Mediterranean Sea, and in addition, there are intrusions of cold air in the upper layers of the atmosphere. It is this temperature difference that creates convection phenomena and causes storms. At the surface there is very warm air that rises and forms large columns where the rain falls very hard and everything starts to spin. The warmer the ocean, the stronger the storm. But now the Mediterranean is much warmer. Another element explains what happened.
Generally, these storms are driven eastward by the atmospheric flow. But this week, the storm stayed put because of the blockage. A large amount of water rained in the same place for a long time. It’s the same ban that created a heat wave in France and rain in Spain last week.
The tragedy also raises the question of regional disparities in the face of climate change.
From the climate intensity to the intensity of the impact, many factors come into play: the risk of the climate, but also the exposure of the place, especially the population density and its vulnerability, more or less fragile buildings, caution. Organizations, etc. The peculiarities of the territory like the wealth of the countries, their level of resilience, the position of the cities in relation to the sea also come into play. In Libya, two dams that already had warnings failed, which also explains the number of victims.

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