Storm Daniel, which hit Derna on the night of Sunday to Monday, a town of 100,000 inhabitants, left at least 11,300 dead, according to a report published by a UN body. More than 10,000 people remain missing.
At least 11,300 people have died and 10,100 remain missing in the town of Derna alone, in eastern Libya, ravaged almost a week ago by unprecedented floods, according to a report published by an organization of the UN, citing the Libyan Red Crescent.
“According to the Libyan Red Crescent, these unprecedented floods have left around 11,300 dead and 10,100 missing in the town of Derna alone,” announced the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in a situation update. Saturday night. Floods have also killed at least 170 people in other places in eastern Libya, he added.
“These numbers are expected to rise as search and rescue teams work around the clock,” OCHA warned.
Read alsoWhy were the floods in Libya so deadly?
“Gloomy” humanitarian situation
Storm Daniel, which hit Derna on the night of Sunday to Monday, a town of 100,000 inhabitants, led to the rupture of two dams upstream causing a flood of the magnitude of a tsunami along the wadi which crosses the city. She took everything in her path.
The Minister of Health of the administration of eastern Libya, Othman Abdeljalil, reported on Saturday evening a death toll of 3,252. In a press release published earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that the bodies of 3,958 people had been found and identified, and that “more than 9,000 people” were still missing.
“The humanitarian situation remains particularly grim in Derna,” said OCHA, according to which the town lacks drinking water and at least 55 children have been poisoned after drinking polluted water.
From under the rubble of neighborhoods devastated by the waves or in the open sea, dozens of bodies are taken out and buried every day in the middle of a landscape of desolation.
According to residents’ testimonies, most of the victims were buried under mud or swept towards the Mediterranean.
Maltese rescuers, who are supporting the Libyans in sea searches, said they discovered hundreds of bodies in a bay, without specifying the exact location, according to the Times of Malta. “There were probably 400, but it’s hard to say,” Maltese team leader Natalino Bezzina told the newspaper, saying access to the bay was difficult due to strong winds. He added that his team was, however, able to help recover dozens of bodies.
A Libyan rescue team on a zodiac claims to have seen “perhaps 600 bodies” at sea off the coast of the Om-al-Briket region, about twenty kilometers east of Derna, according to a video on social networks, without specifying whether these were the bodies found by the Maltese.
Other Libyan and foreign rescue teams say they are finding bodies every day, but searches are made difficult by the tons of mud that has covered part of the city. Rescue workers are often forced to clear the ground using shovels to search for bodies in devastated buildings.
The work of rescue teams and search teams is also hampered by the political chaos that has prevailed in the country since the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, with two rival governments, one in Tripoli (west), recognized by the UN, and the other in the East.
The authorities indicated that they had also begun the complicated process of identifying and listing the bodies, several hundred of which had been hastily buried in the first days.
Othman Abdeljalil also denied reports of a possible evacuation of the city, saying that only “certain areas” could be “isolated” in order to facilitate relief efforts. He added that his services in coordination with the WHO would “intensify efforts in the field of social and psychological assistance.”
Water samples are taken and analyzed every day to avoid possible contamination, he insisted, calling on city residents to stop using groundwater.
Faced with the disaster, international mobilization remains strong. The ballet of aid planes continues at Benina airport in Benghazi, the large eastern city, where rescue and assistance teams from international organizations and several countries continue to arrive.
Source: France 24