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700 buried, thousands reported missing due to flooding in Libya

Updated on: 13 September,2023 08:43 AM IST  |  Cairo
Agencies |

Heavy rainfall broke dams, neighborhoods washed away

700 buried, thousands reported missing due to flooding in Libya

A collapsed coastal road in Benghazi, after a portion was washed away by the floods

Libya’s eastern city of Derna has buried 700 people killed in devastating flooding and 10,000 were reported missing as rescuers teams struggled to retrieve many more bodies from the horrific deluge, officials said on Tuesday.

Authorities estimated earlier that as many as 2,300 people may have perished in Derna alone. Mediterranean storm Daniel on Sunday night caused havoc and flash flooding in many towns in eastern Libya but the worst destruction was in Derna, where heavy rainfall and floods broke dams and washed away entire neighborhoods, authorities said.

Tamer Ramadan, Libya envoy for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said 10,000 people were missing after the unprecedented flooding. Speaking to reporters at a UN briefing in Geneva via videoconference from Tunisia, he said the death toll was “huge” and expected to reach into the thousands in the coming days.

Ossama Hamad, prime minister of the government in eastern Libya, said that many of the missing were believed to have been carried away after two upstream dams burst. He said the devastation in Derna is far beyond the capabilities of his country.

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Streets in Marj got severely flooded due to storm Daniel. Pics/APStreets in Marj got severely flooded due to storm Daniel. Pics/AP

After more than a decade of chaos, Libya remains divided between two rival administrations: one in the east and one in the west, each backed by different militias and foreign governments. The conflict has left the oil rich North African country with crumbling and inadequate infrastructure.

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