Eyewitness footage shows burst dam as deadly floods devastate Libyan city
More than 2, 000 bodies have been found in the Libyan city of Derna as the toll is expected to increase significantly from 5,000 presumed and may even double, a minister in the regional administration has said after the city was hit by catastrophic floods.
The “sea is constantly dumping dozens of bodies”, Hichem Abu Chkiouat, minister of civil aviation in the administration that runs eastern Libya, told Reuters, adding that reconstruction would cost billions of dollars.
The confirmed death toll remains disputed so far as officials struggle to assess the damage in the conflict-stricken country. Officials say over 30,000 people remain displaced or missing.
Torrential rains brought by Storm Daniel appear to have overwhelmed multiple dams and sent a river “tsunami” through the city, washing away entire neighbourhoods and sweeping people out to sea, in what has emerged to be the worst climate disaster of 2023 so far.
Welcome to The Independent’s live blog with the latest from Libya where thousands remain missing after devastating floods from Storm Daniel.
1,500 bodies recovered from Derna
Emergency workers have recovered more than 1,500 bodies from the wreckage of Libya’s eastern city of Derna after the worst climate disaster of 2023 so far.
Officials say more than 10,000 people remain missing and it is feared the toll could surpass 5,000.
Torrential rains brought by Storm Daniel appear to have overwhelmed multiple dams and sent a river “tsunami” through the city, washing away entire neighbourhoods and sweeping people out to sea.
At least one official put the death toll at more than 5,000 but it remains conflicted as authorities struggle to assess the full extent of loss in the conflict-stricken country.
The state-run news agency quoted Mohammed Abu-Lamousha, a spokesman for the east Libya interior ministry, as saying that more than 5,300 people had died in Derna alone. Derna's ambulance authority said earlier on Tuesday that 2,300 had died.
But the toll is likely to be higher, said Tamer Ramadan, Libya envoy for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Situation in Libya 'as devastating as the situation in Morocco'
Aid workers trying to get help for Libya say the situation in the country remains devastating and the death toll could rise a lot higher than what it is currently.
Over 40,000 people have been displaced in the country, Tamer Ramadan, Libya envoy for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies told a UN briefing in Geneva via videoconference from Tunisia.
He said the situation in Libya is "as devastating as the situation in Morocco," referring to the deadly earthquake that hit near the city of Marrakech on Friday night.
Video: Eyewitness footage shows burst dam as deadly floods devastate Libyan city
What led to catastrophic flooding in Libya?
In Northeastern Libya two dams collapsed due to heavy rainfall caused by Storm Daniel, inundating regions already battered by heavy rainfall.
This relentless rainfall was a consequence of the remnants of a powerful low-pressure system, officially named Storm Daniel by the national meteorological organisations of southeastern Europe.
Libya's National Meteorological Center said on Tuesday it issued early warnings for Daniel, an "extreme weather event," 72 hours before its occurrence, and notified all governmental authorities by e-mails and through media ... "urging them to take preventive measures."
It said that Bayda, the second most impacted town after Derna, saw a record 414.1 millimetres (16.3 inches) of rain from Sunday to Monday.
However, lack of preparedness and poor infrastructure as a result of years of conflict and chaos led to the dams near Derna crumbling, making this event the worst recorded disaster of 2023 so far.
Photos: Houses destroyed and towns submerged after flooding in Libya
Streets and cars submerged in heavy mud
Streets and cars submerged in heavy mud as Storm Daniel causes death and devastation in Derna
IOM Libya says at least 30,000 individuals displaced in Derna by storm
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Libya said on Wednesday in a tweet that at least 30,000 individuals were displaced in Derna, the town most affected by storm Daniel.
IOM added that 6,085 were known to have been displaced in other storm-hit areas including Benghazi, with the number of deaths still unverified.
"IOM & partners are immediately prepositioning NFIs, medicines, search and rescue equipment and personnel to the affected areas," it added.
Death toll in Libya's Derna may 'double' from 5,300
More than 5,300 bodies have been counted in the Libyan city of Derna and the toll is expected to increase significantly and may even double, a minister in the regional administration has said, after the city was hit by catastrophic floods.
The "sea is constantly dumping dozens of bodies", Hichem Abu Chkiouat, minister of civil aviation in the administration that runs eastern Libya, told Reuters, adding that reconstruction would cost billions of dollars.
Satellite images show scale of Libya devastation as mass graves used to bury dead
Satellite images showed the vast extent of damage due to one of the worst floods in Libya’s history as emergency workers uncovered hundreds of bodies buried in mass graves in the eastern city of Derna.
Authorities fear that the death toll could surpass 5,000 after floodwaters smashed through dams, washing away entire neighbourhoods, reported Associated Press, citing local officials.
My colleague Namita Singh has more here:
More than 1,500 corpses collected, half of them buried as of Tuesday evening
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