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Thousands Reported Dead As Floods Hit Libya

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More than 5,000 people have perished as a result of flash flooding caused by Storm Daniel in eastern Libya, and 10,000 more are missing after entire neighborhoods were swept away.

Osman Abdulcelil, the health minister of Libya’s parliament-appointed government, told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday that most of the 3,000 deaths occurred in Derna, where videos uploaded on social media appeared to show dozens of bodies covered in blankets on the streets.

“I returned from Derna. It is very disastrous. Bodies are lying everywhere — in the sea, in the valleys, under the buildings,” Hichem Chkiouat, minister of civil aviation and member of the emergency committee, also told Reuters by phone.

“The number of bodies recovered in Derna is more 1,000,” he said. He expected the final toll would be “really, really big”.

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

Around 10,000 individuals are also reported to be missing as a result of the massive floods, according to an official from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

“We can confirm from our independent sources of information that the number of missing people is hitting 10,000 so far,” Tamer Ramadan, the head of the IFRC delegation in Libya, told reporters in Geneva via video link from Tunisia on Tuesday.

Ramadan also said “the death toll is huge and might reach thousands”. 

The floods had killed at least 2,000 people, according to officials in the administration that governs the partitioned country’s eastern half, though it was unclear what basis that estimate was founded on.

Libya is politically divided into east and west, and public services have deteriorated since a NATO-backed insurrection in 2011 that sparked years of conflict.

Storm Daniel surged in across the Mediterranean on Sunday, flooding roads and demolishing buildings in Derna and affecting other settlements along the coast, including Libya’s second largest city of Benghazi.

Also Read: Libyan House Approves Unity Interim Government

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