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Libya flood: Death toll touches 5,000, thousands still missing Libya
Photo Courtesy: National Meteorological Centre, Libya

Libya flood: Death toll touches 5,000, thousands still missing

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 13 Sep 2023, 06:28 pm

Libya, the African nation that witnessed the deadliest strike of flood caused due to torrential downpours and the resultant smashing of two dams, is struggling to bury bodies which is piling up in the streets of badly-hit Derna city.

According to reports, the death toll due to the flood in the country is now 5,000 and scores of people still remain missing.

Latest figures as of Tuesday night, suggest there could be more than 5,000 people dead and around 10,000 have been reported missing in the massive floods triggered by Hurricane Daniel, which overwhelmed the eastern parts of the country at the weekend, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said.

The infrastructure in Derna has been damaged significantly with only two out of the seven entry points to the city currently remaining accessible.

Rescuers are trying to find out bodies from underneath the debris.

“The Martyrs’ committee (has been set up to) identify the missing people and to implement procedures for identifying and burial of in accordance with Sharia and legal laws and standards,” Libya’s minister of state for cabinet affairs, Adel Juma, told CNN.

The communication system in the country has been badly damaged by the natural disaster and people outside Libya are struggling to connect with their family members in the nation.

Ayah, a Palestinian woman with cousins in Derna, said she has been unable to contact them since the floods.

“I’m really worried about them. I have two cousins who live in Derna. It seems all communications are down and I don’t know if they are alive at this point. It is very terrifying watching the videos coming out of Derna. We are all terrified,” she told CNN.

In a statement released by his Spokesperson, UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed his heartfelt condolences to the Libyan authorities and the families of those who have perished,

“At this time, our thoughts are with the thousands of people being affected there in their communities, we stand in solidarity with all people in Libya during this difficult time”, said Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, briefing reporters in New York.

He said the UN team on the ground is responding at the site.

“Furthermore, we are mobilizing resources and emergency teams to support those affected people and are working with local, national, and international partners to get urgently needed humanitarian assistance to people in the affected areas.”

The UN is working with Libyan authorities to assess needs and support ongoing relief efforts, he added.

Libya is in effect under the control of two rival administrations, the internationally recognized Government in Tripoli, and authorities based along with the parliament in the east.

Libya has become a key springboard for migrants from over 40 countries heading for Europe, who most likely have also been severely impacted by the floods, the UN migration agency (IOM) warned.

“There are roughly 600,000 migrants in Libya at this time and we are conscious that in some of the affected areas there are migrant populations but at this early stage and [given] the many access issues that we and humanitarian responders are facing, we don’t have a clear picture about how badly they have been affected”, said IOM spokesperson Paul Dillon.

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