Libya Floods: A Crisis Still Unfolding

Sep 20, 2023
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Humza Irfan

On September 11, 2023, 30 million cubic feet of water crashed into the Mediterranean town of Derna, Libya, unleashing unprecedented destruction. Thousands have perished and many more are injured. As rescuers frantically search for survivors, the fate of tens of thousands of fellow brothers and sisters hangs in balance. For many of them, survival is a challenge. Homelessness, lack of medical care, and food and water are among the most immediate concerns. Many nonprofits are now actively providing relief and humanitarian assistance in the region and therefore need maximum donations to make their services available to all those who need it. 

What Happened?

The flooding took place on a Friday morning after two dams in the coastal city of Derna collapsed owing to Storm Daniel. As a result, 30 million cubic feet of water was released in a matter of few hours. Waves as high as 7 meters hit the city destroying buildings, houses, and other infrastructure. It is estimated that over 4,000 people have died and close to 10,000 are still missing. Furthermore, 30,000 people are now homeless. To put this into perspective, this comprises 30% of the city’s population. 

Why did it happen?

Most residents of Derna were completely taken by surprise when the storm hit their city. According to the United Nations majority of the deaths could have been prevented if the early warning systems were working. It is also reported that the dams that collapsed had not been properly maintained since 2002. 

Libya is also in the grips of a power struggle since the Arab Spring in 2011. For many years it has suffered from a power vacuum brought about by the civil war. The political turmoil has considerably weakened all public institutes and the lack of oversight has deteriorated the infrastructure. 

With global warming, natural calamities like the floods in Derna are likely to become more frequent. Normally the poorest people face the brunt of such disasters.

What is currently going on?

Widespread catastrophe has been reported in Derna. Entire neighborhoods have been wiped out. Search and rescue operations are still underway. Owing to the damage to the infrastructure, the city is difficult to access which is hampering the delivery of aid and other resources needed to provide relief to the survivors. The locals are even finding it hard to bury bodies as there is no land available suitable for burial. 

Those who have survived have still many challenges to overcome. These include finding shelter, food, medicines, and clean drinking water. There is widespread fear that there will be a water-borne epidemic very soon. Children are most susceptible to diseases like cholera, typhoid, dysentery, etc.

How Can You Help

We have compiled a list of major nonprofits actively working towards rescue and relief efforts. These include the following:

Islamic Relief USA

The nonprofit organization launched its services immediately after the floods. It is supporting the survivors by providing food and other essential supplies including blankets and mattresses. 

You can donate to Islamic Relief USA through the Feeling Blessed App.

Muslim Aid USA

Muslim Aid is working with local partners and nonprofits to provide food, medicines, blankets, clothing, and other essential items to address the most immediate needs. They are currently accepting donations for food packages valued at $75 per package. This can support a family of 7 people for a period of one month. 

Bailtulmaal, Inc

The nonprofit provides services to enrich the lives of people and provide them with the means to achieve their livelihoods. They also respond to humanitarian emergencies around the world. You can donate to Baitulmaal through the Feeling Blessed app.

Hidaya Foundation

Hidaya Foundation runs multiple programs to support the education and welfare of poor communities in Asia, Africa, and North America. They are very active in providing humanitarian relief and follow-up welfare programs designed to lift people out of poverty and help them economically. To support Hidaya Foundation’s efforts in Libya go to the Feeling Blessed app or donate online.

One Nation

Registered in the UK, One Nation is an Islamic charity that is actively supporting the relief efforts in Libya. They are accepting Zakat donations for delivering emergency packs. Each pack costs £50 and contains essentials such as food, water, medical kits, and hygiene products, among others.

Zakat Foundation of America

Zakat Foundation of America is primarily focused on collecting Zakat and utilizing it for benefitting poverty-stricken Muslims living around the world. They also respond to emergencies by providing life-saving and life-sustaining products and services. They are active in 40 countries. You can support their efforts in Libya by donating through Feeling Blessed.

For information on additional nonprofits go to the following link and click on ‘Libya floods’ to filter all organizations currently raising funds for this crisis. 


The Libya floods are an ongoing crisis. Even when the search and rescue efforts are over, the danger posed to the survivors will persist. For the time being, urgent support is needed. The effects of this natural calamity will remain engraved for a long time. 

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