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Libyan Flood: More Than 1000 Bodies Recovered

Libya flood

Posted: September 14, 2023 at 8:32 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The Libyan flood in the eastern part of the country has reportedly killed at least 3,000 people. These floods originated with Storm Daniel, which broke two dams on the Derna River.

According to Hichem Chkiouat, a member of the emergency committee, the number of bodies recovered is more than 1000.

“It is very disastrous,” he said, “Bodies are lying everywhere.”He further added that the death toll was really, really big”.

“I am not exaggerating when I say that 25% of the city has disappeared,” Chkiouat told Reuters. “Many, many buildings have collapsed.”

Al-Mosmari, a spokesman for the country’s armed forces in the east, confirmed that more than 5,000 people were still missing. He also attributed the catastrophe to the collapse of two nearby dams, causing a lethal flash flood.

Floods have affected many towns in eastern Libya. But Derna suffered the most devastation because of the flooding that broke the dams and washed away entire neighborhoods.

A video shared on Facebook, which Reuters could not independently verify, appeared to show dozens of bodies covered in blankets on the pavements in Derna.  Entire residential blocks were erased along Wadi Derna, a river that runs down from the mountains through the city center. Multi-story apartment buildings that once stood well back from the river were partially collapsed into mud.

Libya is politically divided between East and West and public services have crumbled since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that prompted years of conflict.

The conflict had left the oil-rich country with crumbling and inadequate infrastructure.

Areas Hit By The Libyan Flood

In addition to the devastation in Derna, other cities along Libya’s Mediterranean coast were also hit by severe flooding, particularly in the eastern part of the country, nearer to Libya’s border with Egypt.

The Medical Center of Bayda, the main hospital, was flooded, and patients had to be evacuated, according to a video shared by the center on Facebook.

Other towns that suffered included Susa, Marj, and Shahatt, according to the government. Hundreds of families were displaced and took shelter in schools and other government buildings in various towns in eastern Libya.

Emergency responders, including troops, government workers, volunteers, and residents, were digging through the rubble to recover the dead. They also used inflatable boats to retrieve bodies from the water. Excavators and other equipment had yet to arrive in the city.

Egypt, Qatar, Iran, and Italy were among the countries that said they were ready to send aid. The United States also said it was coordinating with UN partners and Libyan authorities on how to assist relief efforts.

The U.S. embassy in Libya similarly wrote on social media that it was in touch with U.N. and Libyan authorities to determine how to most effectively direct assistance to those in need.

The former UN acting envoy to Libya, Stephanie Williams, urged quick foreign aid, saying the disaster “requires an urgent ramp up in international and regional assistance” in a post on X.

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