Friday 1 December 2023

Massive Libya floods wipe out quarter of city, thousands dead

DERNA (Libya), September 13, 2023

Thousands of people were killed and at least 10,000 were missing in Libya in floods caused by a huge Mediterranean storm that burst dams, swept away buildings and wiped out as much as a quarter of the eastern coastal city of Derna, Reuters reported.
Storm Daniel barrelled across the Mediterranean into a country divided and crumbling after more than a decade of conflict.
In Derna, a city of around 125,000 inhabitants, Reuters journalists saw wrecked neighbourhoods, their buildings washed out and cars flipped on their roofs in streets covered in mud and rubble left by a wide torrent after dams burst.
Mohamad Al Qabisi, director of the Wahda Hospital, said 1,700 people had died in one of the city's two districts and 500 had died in the other.
Reuters journalists saw many bodies laid out on the ground in the hospital corridors. 
As more bodies were brought to the hospital people looked at them, trying to identify missing family members.
"Bodies are lying everywhere - in the sea, in the valleys, under the buildings," Hichem Abu Chkiouat, minister of civil aviation in the administration that controls the east, told Reuters by phone shortly after visiting Derna.
"I am not exaggerating when I say that 25% of the city has disappeared. Many, many buildings have collapsed," he added.
The local Al Masar television said the eastern administration's interior minister had said more than 5,000 people died.
Other eastern cities, including Libya's second biggest city Benghazi, were also hit by the storm. Tamer Ramadan, head of a delegation of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said the death toll would be "huge", said the Reuters report.
"We can confirm from our independent sources of information that the number of missing people is hitting 10,000 so far," he told reporters via video link.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said emergency response teams had been mobilised to help on the ground.
As Turkey and other countries rushed aid to Libya, including search and rescue vehicles, rescue boats, generators and food, distraught Derna citizens rushed home in search of loved ones.
Bodies recovered from a devastating flood which wiped out parts of the port city of Derna in eastern Libya have been buried in mass graves, reported BBC.
At least 2,300 people died when a tsunami-like river of floodwater swept through Derna on Sunday after a dam burst during Storm Daniel.
A mechanical digger worked in a cemetery where victims wrapped in body bags and blankets were buried together. 
With 10,000 people reported missing, the death toll is expected to rise, it added.




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