Solidarity with the Libyan People and their Peasants in the aftermath of Storm Daniel

September 18, 2023, Bagnolet:  On Sunday, September 10, 2023, the city of Derna in Libya, along with neighboring villages and towns, witnessed the devastating impact of Storm Daniel. This unprecedented natural disaster inflicted profound destruction on Libya, leaving a trail of unprecedented devastation in its wake. Storm Daniel, accompanied by torrential floods resulting from the collapse of two dams, tragically claimed the lives of over 3,900 individuals[1], with more than 9,000 still missing and an additional 20,000 forcibly displaced. Regrettably, the casualty count is anticipated to rise further. Among those directly affected were numerous fisherfolk, peasants, and small-scale farmers.

It is essential to acknowledge that this calamity is part of a broader pattern of extreme and unparalleled natural disasters afflicting the region and the world. These catastrophes stem from the adverse impacts of climate change, driven by pollution and the unjust exploitation of natural resources inherent in capitalist systems. In Libya, the ramifications of Storm Daniel have exposed the underlying consequences of decades of civil conflict and division instigated by NATO’s intervention and occupation in 2011. These actions have left a legacy of death, devastation, and desolation.

La Via Campesina stands in unwavering solidarity with the resilient Libyan people, with a special focus on our people in Derna and the nearby villages and towns affected by this profound tragedy.

We unequivocally:

– Condemn the authorities’ failure to provide timely warnings regarding the imminent dam collapse and the inadequate evacuation efforts preceding the hurricane, which exacerbated the losses and led to this catastrophe.

– Assert that the catastrophe in Libya is an outcome of imperialist interventions by NATO, European colonial powers, and the United States, coupled with the complicity of successive Libyan administrations, which have unleashed civil strife and destruction. Despite Libya’s extensive arsenal, the country finds itself woefully ill-equipped and under-resourced for disaster rescue and relief.

– Recognize that recurring natural disasters are fundamentally rooted in the capitalist production model, characterized by substantial greenhouse gas emissions and the exploitative extraction of resources, contributing to climate change, environmental degradation, and harm to both the environment and humanity.

– Stress that constructing dams in close proximity to populated areas, whether rural or urban, elevates the risk of earthquakes, floods, and high waters, thereby intensifying the severity of disasters. Accordingly, responsible authorities must account for population dynamics, geographical conditions, and disaster resilience when siting such structures.

– Call for a robust campaign of civil solidarity to augment rescue and relief endeavors, alleviating the suffering endured by our compatriots in Libya due to this devastating disaster.

– Extend an invitation to the fisherfolk and peasants of Derna and the entirety of Libya to organize and synchronize their actions with the La Via Campesina movement, fostering unity in their efforts and struggles.

[1]     SOURCE (UN OCHA)