Libya flooding: 10,000 people thought to be missing after dams burst


Libya flooding: 10,000 people thought to be missing after dams burst

About 10,000 people are thought to be missing after major flooding in Libya, the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) has said.

A quarter of the eastern city of Derna was wiped out by floodwaters after dams burst in a storm, the local administration said, with more than 1,000 bodies recovered so far.

It is estimated that as many as 2,000 people may have died in Derna alone.

Tamer Ramadan, head of the IFRC in Libya, said: “We can confirm from our independent sources of information that the number of missing people is hitting 10,000 so far.

“The death toll is huge and might reach thousands.”

Conditions in Libya are “as devastating as the situation in Morocco“, Mr Ramadan said.

The IFRC’s secretary general and CEO, Jagan Chapagain, said on Tuesday that three volunteers from the Libya RC had died while attempting to help families impacted by flooding.

Libya flooding: 10,000 people thought to be missing after dams burst

“I express our profound sadness and send my deepest condolences to their families & our colleagues at the Libyan Red Crescent,” he said on a post on social media site X, formerly known as Twitter.

Workers in Derna said they buried more than 200 bodies in one cemetery on Monday, while footage has shown dozens more bodies lying on the ground in a hospital yard.

The government in eastern Libya has declared the city a disaster zone.

Hichem Abu Chkiouat, minister of civil aviation in the eastern administration, said: “I returned from Derna. It is very disastrous.

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“Bodies are lying everywhere – in the sea, in the valleys, under the buildings.”

He added: “The number of bodies recovered in Derna is more than 1,000. I am not exaggerating when I say that 25% of the city has disappeared. Many, many buildings have collapsed.”

Entire residential blocks were erased along Wadi Derna, a river that runs down from the mountains through the city centre.

Multi-storey apartment buildings that stood well back from the river partially collapsed into the mud.

Libya flooding: 10,000 people thought to be missing after dams burst

Othman Abduljaleel, eastern Libya’s health minister, said Derna was inaccessible and bodies were scattered across it, Libya’s state-run news agency reported.

“The situation was more significant and worse than we expected… An international intervention is needed,” he was quoted as saying.

Derna is about 560 miles east of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and is controlled by the forces of powerful military commander Khalifa Hifter, who is allied with the east Libya government.

West Libya, including Tripoli, is controlled by armed groups connected to another administration.


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