Derna, September 12
At least 10,000 people were feared missing in Libya on Tuesday in floods caused by a huge storm, which burst dams, swept away buildings and wiped out as much as a quarter of the eastern city of Derna. Over 2,200 people have died and 1,000 bodies have been recovered in Derna alone. Officials expected the death toll to rise after Storm Daniel barrelled across the Mediterranean into a country crumbling from more than a decade of conflict.
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Derna city that houses 1,25,000 inhabitants saw vehicles overturned on roads, trees knocked down and houses abandoned due to floods. As many as 700 bodies were buried by authorities as rescuers struggled to retrieve more from the deluge. “It is very disastrous. Bodies are lying everywhere — in the sea, in the valleys, under the buildings,” Hichem Abu Chkiouat, minister of civil aviation and member of the emergency committee said. “I am not exaggerating when I say that 25% of the city has disappeared. Many buildings have collapsed.” Abu said.
Tamer Ramadan, head of a delegation of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said in Geneva that the number of missing was 10,000.
Ossama Hamad, PM of the government in eastern Libya, said many of the missing were believed to have been carried away after two upstream dams burst. He said the devastation in Derna was far beyond the capabilities of his country. — Agencies