The recent devastating floods in Libya have raised concerns about the stability of two dams in the country, leading the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to issue warnings about potential dam disasters.
The two dams in question are the Wadi Jazza Dam, located between the partially destroyed cities of Derna and Benghazi, and the Wadi Al-Qattara Dam near Benghazi.
While the Libyan authorities have stated that both dams are in good condition and functioning well, OCHA has cited “contradictory reports” regarding their stability. Given the significant pressure that these dams are said to be bearing, it is crucial to address these concerns promptly to prevent any further disasters.
In response to the potential threat posed by the dams, the Libyan authorities have reported that they are taking immediate action. Pumps are being installed at the Jazza Dam to alleviate the pressure on the structure. However, the effectiveness of these measures remains uncertain, as sources continue to provide conflicting information about the dams’ condition.
The consequences of the recent floods have been devastating for the people of Libya. The city of Derna, in particular, has suffered severe damage, with two dams collapsing under the force of the storm.
Thousands of people have lost their lives, and there are still many more missing. As floodwaters recede and bodies are recovered, it is expected that the number of fatalities will continue to rise.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that over 40,000 people have been displaced due to the disaster in northeastern Libya. However, this figure is likely to be much higher, considering the scale of the flooding and the resulting damage to homes and infrastructure.
Accurate statistics on the extent of damage in several severely affected areas have yet to be compiled. In response, the World Food Program is diligently organising food supplies to sustain a minimum of 100,000 individuals in the disaster-stricken region for at least three months.
The potential dam disasters in Libya not only pose a threat to human lives but also have significant implications for the country’s overall stability and development. Dam failures can lead to widespread destruction, including the loss of vital water resources, damage to agricultural lands, and disruption of essential services. Furthermore, the psychological and emotional toll on the affected population should not be underestimated.