Libya Floods: More than a Decade of NATO Bombings and Chaos
The recent floods that swept through Libya, after two dams burst during a powerful storm, brought more death and destruction, and displacement of thousands of families. As rescue efforts continue for survivors, more bodies are being found.
The blame game has begun and majority fingers are pointed at NATO, which has been in Libya since 2011 and sent the country plunging into a civil war following the killing of Muammar Gaddafi. Besides severe climate events, continuous bombing in Libya has made infrastructure vulnerable and weak. Dams, bridges and roads can collapse like a house of cards.
NATO War, Neglected Infrastructure in Libya
Abdelwanees Ashoort, a hydrologist, warned in several articles that the Derna dams were in poor condition. He said a major flood would cause one of the two dams to collapse. There would be catastrophe.
Over the years, there have been little to no repairs because of the civil war. Claudia Gazzini, an official with the International Crisis Group, said in the 10 years since the fall of the Gaddafi regime and the following years of wars, policy rivalry and isolation, both governments have neglected the infrastructure.
An article in The Washington Post said the volatility of recent years meant Libya’s separate regimes and their feckless officials have left critical infrastructure in a state of neglect. Before NATO intervention, Libya was one of Africa’s most advanced countries in terms of healthcare, education and economy. But the west destroyed it.
Now, military presence is causing bottlenecks for rescue and relief efforts. Emadeddin Badi, an analyst in Libya with the Atlantic Council, said the main thrust of relief efforts was not facilitated by the military leadership. He believes the military had vested interest in trying to control, while avoiding responsibility and victim-blaming. Much work is being done by Red Crescent, medical teams, volunteers, boy scouts and foreign search and rescue teams.
Badi highlighted that on the public relations side, the military is leveraging its pre-existing propaganda channels to appear in control. He was pointing to Khalifa Haftar, a politician and military officer, who commended the first responders and coalition of militias helping. “Haftar’s visit was a microcosm of this issue, everything was frozen for an hour for a PR stunt.”
Meanwhile, al-Sediq al-Sour, Libyan prosecutor general, will investigate the collapse of the two dams and funding meant to maintain the infrastructure.