Morocco: Disasters in Morocco and Libya

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Editorial - The catastrophe in Morocco and Libya provides lessons for Nigeria

Within a period of 48 hours, two horrendous disasters occurred in two North African countries - Morocco and Libya - claiming thousands of lives and causing incalculable economic loss. It started in Morocco on 8th September when an earthquake of magnitude 6.8 shook the country's High Atlas Mountains, 71 kilometres from Marrakesh. Many remote villages and towns in the neighbourhood were destroyed, killing many inhabitants, and in some cases wiping off members of the same family.

Unfortunately, at a time the African continent and the rest of the world were mourning the untold loss in Morocco, 'Storm Daniel' made landfall in Libya, causing devastating flash floods worsened by the burst of two dams. With that, large volumes of water at very high speed swept through the coastal North-eastern city of Derna, washing humans, houses, vehicles and everything on its path into the Mediterranean Sea.

Unlike the earthquake in Morocco, the heavy rainfall caused by Storm Daniel is an extreme weather event associated with climate change. In Libya, vulnerable populations are worst hit because of the ongoing conflict between the Western and Eastern regions that has made governance and maintenance of infrastructure, such as the dams, difficult.

According to experts, the absence of early warning systems exacerbated the death toll in Morocco and Libya. This same problem is in most of the developing world that are plagued with corruption-driven insensitivity, which is being tendered as responsible for the burst dams in Libya. People saw the fault lines on the walls of the dams before the rains and notified the government which did nothing about it until the catastrophe that has now exposed their incompetence.

 

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