A team of eight brave search and rescue professionals from KwaZulu-Natal have heeded the call, jetting off to Libya to assist those in need after a flood swept through Derna, claiming more than 11,000 lives.
The eight individuals from IPSS Medical Rescue in KwaZulu-Natal are currently making their way to the top of Africa through Bhengazi, IPSS Samantha Meyrick confirmed.
Merick’s father and brother are part of the team making their way to Libya to assist flood survivors and those trying to find their lost loved ones.
“The team arrived in Cairo this morning. They’ll be flying though to Benghazi tomorrow morning. They will only be returning next Wednesday, instead of Monday.
“They have spent the morning organising flights and transport from Benghazi to Derna. The team is tired, but in good spirits and ready to get on the ground,” Meyrick told IOL.
The eight IPSS members are Dylan and Rodney Meyrick, Legan Soobrayloo, Ntokozo Magubane, Simphiwe Shobede, Keith Muller, Thereza van den Berg and Nicholas Compton James.
On Sunday evening, Othman Abdel Jalil, the eastern government’s health minister said during a news broadcast that 3,283 people had died so far, Al Jazeera reported.
A Libyan government official told Reuters that around 25% of the City of Derna had been washed away.
The port City of Derna on the east coast of Libya is still reeling from shock after storm Daniel ripped through a couple of weeks ago and smashed two two dams, flooding huge sections of the coastal city.
Rescue efforts have also been reportedly chaotic due to the factional split within the Libyan government, one at the capital city of Tripoli and another to the east.
Approximately 46,000 people to date have been displaced by the floods, Al Jazeera reported, while 891 buildings were completely destroyed.
As the IPSS team heads into the war-torn oil-rich African nation, whose roots can be traced back to the days of Mesopotamia, they will join rescue teams from France, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Türkiye and the United Arab Emirates.
As clean up and rescue operations continue, scientists are asking questions about the severity of storm Daniel and whether climate change was possibly a contributing factor to the disaster, the Guardian reported.
German climate scientist Dr Karsten Haustein said while no formal attribution was given to climate change, it was worth noting that Mediterranean sea surface temperatures were above average for the duration of the summer.
“This is certainly true for the region where Daniel could form and wreak havoc over Greece and now Libya … The warmer water does not only fuel those storms in terms of rainfall intensity, it also makes them more ferocious,” Haustein was quoted saying in the Guardian.