International Outcry as Deadly Floods in Libya and Earthquake in Morocco Kill Thousands

Innoventia Africa – Morocco and Libya are facing natural disasters, and the international community’s response is being hindered by the region’s political complications.

The deadly floods in Libya and earthquake in Morocco have killed nearly thousands of people and displaced tens of thousands more. The UN is calling the deadly floods in Libya a “calamity of epic proportions.”

The Moroccan and Libyan governments are also responding to the disasters, deploying search-and-rescue teams, medical personnel, and other resources to the affected areas.

On September 10, Storm Daniel made landfall in Libya, causing severe weather conditions, including strong winds and sudden heavy rainfall. The storm reportedly caused significant infrastructure damage, including damage to roads and telecommunications networks, and the displacement of at least 410 families (or around 2,050 individuals) and 35 migrants, according to the UN.

Local authorities have launched search-and-rescue operations, while authorities and national organizations have sent medical teams and aid convoys to the affected area. The UN is working with Libyan authorities to assess needs and support ongoing relief efforts.

“Storm Daniel and subsequent severe floods have devastated Libya; the whole country is in shock. With water levels as high as ten meters, large parts of Derna in the east have been utterly wiped out with communication and electricity networks down, and medical facilities destroyed. Over 10,000 people remain missing, and more than 5,000 have lost their lives, CARE said in a statement on Wednesday.

Libya is in effect under the control of two rival administrations, the internationally recognized Government in Tripoli, and authorities based along with the parliament in the east. The UN has called on both sides to put aside their differences and work together to provide assistance to the victims of the floods.

Three days after the devastating earthquake that struck southwest of Marrakech on September 8, Moroccan authorities have officially confirmed the loss of 2,497 lives and injuries to 2,476 individuals. The number of casualties is expected to rise as search and rescue operations are ongoing.

Most of the fatalities are concentrated in the Al Haouz municipality, while the remainder are scattered across Ouarzazate, Azilal, Chichaoua, and Taroudant provinces.

Government officials are taking the lead in responding to the crisis and providing crucial aid and assistance to those affected by this tragic event.

So far, Morocco has accepted government-offered search-and-rescue crews from Spain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the U.K., but it has not taken up other offers of emergency assistance from the United States, France and elsewhere.

In a tweet, Deckerson Thomas, author of Or Porto, Shadow on the Horizon, criticized African leaders for not doing enough to assist Morocco and Libya.

“Morocco has a natural disaster, and African leaders are only sending condolences but no aid. Same with Libya. Thousands of young Africans are dying in the Mediterranean Sea while fleeing Africa. Is it not time for African unity, as Kwame Nkrumah envisioned? Why are Africans so detached?” he asked.

“Thus, aid offers are still viewed as tools of foreign policy,” Geoff Porter, president of North Africa Risk Consulting and an expert on the Maghreb region was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying. “This means that aid and relief cannot be accepted from countries that do not unequivocally recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.”

A small UN team has been deployed to enhance the existing UN capacity, while the UN continues close communication with the national authorities and stands ready to support in the assessment, coordination, and response to the situation.

On Wednesday, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of International Development, announced a matching fund with the Canadian Red Cross to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs of disaster-affected populations in Morocco. Every donation made by individuals to the Canadian Red Cross from September 8 to 28, 2023, will be matched up to a maximum of $3 million.

The Moroccan government has said it is grateful for the offers of assistance, but that it believes it can handle the crisis on its own. However, some experts have expressed concerns that Morocco may not have the resources it needs to cope with the disaster.

The earthquake in Morocco and the floods in Libya are just the latest examples of the devastating impact that natural disasters can have on human lives. The international community must come together to provide assistance to the victims of these disasters and to help them rebuild their lives.

By Felix Tih

 

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