Libya floods: Death toll rises to 11,300 in Derna

Libya floods: Death toll rises to 11,300 in Derna

According to a UN report released on Saturday, the death toll from the catastrophic flooding in Derna, a city on the eastern coast of Libya, has increased to at least 11,300, even though more victims are likely to be discovered as search efforts continue.

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) of the United Nations, an additional 170 people have died due to flooding outside of Derna. Additionally, there are still at least 10,100 people missing in Derna alone. These numbers are likely to increase as rescue teams labor assiduously to locate survivors, it was added.

The UN reports that since Storm Daniel’s intense rainfall, more than 40,000 people have been displaced throughout northeastern Libya.

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According to experts, a deadly confluence of factors, including deteriorating infrastructure, insufficient warnings, and the effects of the accelerating climate crisis, greatly increased the storm’s impact.
Flood waters swept entire neighborhoods, dividing Derna, the disaster’s epicenter, in half. Prior to the tragedy, there were roughly 100,000 residents.

According to the UN, Derna alone has seen at least 30,000 displaced residents. Late Saturday night in Libya, Tarek Fahim was filming the water filling up behind the dam in the Derna Valley. Storm Daniel had been wind and rain only up until 1:30 a.m. A short while passed between the time he heard the dam burst and the time he returned home an hour later. The amount of water and the cars it was moving, according to him, felt like an earthquake.

He relocated the family to the rooftop, and as the water continued to rise, they scaled a water tank. They managed to make it through. In his neighborhood near al-Fanar Street, he estimates that only 1% of people who lived on the ground floor survived.

He went back down to check on his neighbors as the water level slowly started to recede, but, as he recalls, there was meter-high mud on the street. 33 people lost their lives just in 15 buildings nearby, he claims. He begins to cry as he begins to list the names of the friends he lost.
The risk of cholera, malnutrition, diarrhea, and dehydration is higher for the nearly 300,000 kids who were exposed to the flooding brought on by Storm Daniel. Additionally, there is a higher chance of violence and exploitation for the kids.

Bodies in the water, severely decomposing

As the likelihood of survivors continues to decrease, rescuers are searching through collapsed buildings and the ocean for dead bodies. International rescue missions claimed that the majority of the bodies were in the water and requested more tools and assistance to remove the bodies from the Mediterranean.

A representative from the Tunisian mission stated during a meeting with counterparts from Russia, the Arab world, Turkey, and Italy that bodies are severely decomposing and at some point retrieving them might not be possible.

Other mission representatives from Egypt and the UAE reported discovering bodies in Mediterranean bays and coves, many of which were in remote locations only accessible by boat.

Around 50 bodies were discovered hanging from a cliff about seven nautical miles from the Derna port, according to an Algerian mission representative, who also noted that the area could only be reached by divers and boats. The Egyptian representative claimed that if we have the right boats, we can recover 100 bodies each day.

Teams warned that if areas are not evacuated, dead bodies could cause a health crisis as they are buried beneath mounds of mud in still-inhabited residential areas of Derna.

International rescue and aid efforts are gradually spreading, but they hardly compare to the scope of the destruction. In the immediate aftermath, local volunteers and emergency personnel from various parts of Libya did what they could.

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