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Libya Floods: 5K presumed dead, 10K missing; buildings collapsed, homes swept away

The floods have overwhelmed several cities Libya's northeast, bordering the Mediterranean Sea leading to the destruction of bridges and entire neighbourhood. Read More

Wednesday September 13, 2023 10:14 AM, ummid.com News Network

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Tripoli: At least 5,300 people have died whereas 10,000 others are missing after Storm Daniel dumped devastating rain on Libya’s northeast, reportedly bursting two major dams and overflooding the already heavily inundated areas of the country.

Tamer Ramadan, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies delegation in Libya, gave the numbers of missing people during a briefing to reporters in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday.

“The death toll is huge,” she said.

"Catastrophic Situation"

In the eastern city of Derna, which has seen the worst of the devastation, as many as 6,000 people remain missing, Othman Abduljalil, Health Minister in Libya’s eastern administration, told Libya’s Almasar TV.

He called the situation “catastrophic,” when he toured the city on Monday. Whole neighborhoods are believed to have been washed away in the city, authorities said, according to CNN.

Hichem Abu Chkiouat, the Minister of Civil Aviation and a member of the emergency committee in the eastern region, painted a grim picture, stating:

"The situation was catastrophic… The bodies are still lying in many places. There are families still stuck inside their homes, and there are victims under the rubble."

Hospitals inoperable, morgues full

Hospitals in Derna are no longer operable and the morgues are full, said Osama Aly, an Emergency and Ambulance service spokesperson.

Dead bodies have been left outside the morgues on the sidewalks, he told CNN.

“There are no first-hand emergency services. People are working at the moment to collect the rotting bodies,” said Anas Barghathy, a doctor currently volunteering in Derna.

Relatives of people who lived in the destroyed city of Derna told CNN they were terrified after seeing videos of the flooding, with no word from their family members.

The floods have overwhelmed several cities in the country's northeast, bordering the Mediterranean Sea leading to the destruction of bridges and entire neighbourhoods.

Rescue, Relief Efforts Difficult

Rescue and relief efforts have been complicated by the heavy destruction, lack of phone lines, and inadequate preparedness for such a catastrophe.

Osama Aly, head of Libya's Emergency and Ambulance authority, admitted that "Libya was not prepared for a catastrophe like that. It has not witnessed that level of catastrophe before."

The floods have been attributed to a powerful low-pressure system that developed into a tropical-like cyclone, referred to as a "medicane," after causing catastrophic flooding in Greece. This extreme weather system, similar to tropical storms and hurricanes, has wreaked havoc in Libya, a nation already grappling with political divisions and the aftermath of a decade-long conflict.

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