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10,000 missing, thousands feared dead

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In the wake of the catastrophic flooding caused by Storm Daniel in Libya, an estimated 10,000 people are still missing, raising fears that thousands may be dead.

Derna, a city in eastern Libya, suffered the most severe devastation, with around 25% of its area wiped out after the dams gave way. So far, more than 1,000 bodies have been recovered from the city, although estimates suggest the death toll could be as high as 2,000 in Derna alone. The city’s accessibility has been severely hampered due to damaged roads, making rescue and relief operations difficult.

Grim images of the disaster show dozens of bodies covered and placed in hospital yards. The mass graves, filled to capacity, tell a disturbing story of the magnitude of the disaster.

Tamer Ramadan, head of the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) in Libya, said: “Our independent data sources confirm that the number of missing is currently around 10,000.” He also compared the dire situation in Libya to the recent catastrophic earthquake in Morocco.

Tragically, the Red Cross also reported the loss of three volunteers from its Libya chapter who were assisting flood victims.

Foreign assistance only began to arrive in the devastated city more than a day and a half after the floods. Hichem Abu Chkiouat, minister of the eastern administration, described the scene as gruesome, mentioning bodies scattered everywhere, including in the sea.

The geography of Derna, bisected by a seasonal river flowing from the southern highlands, normally provides flood protection through dams. However, these defenses failed under the fury of Storm Daniel.

Othman Abduljaleel, the health minister for eastern Libya, described the disaster as exceeding expectations and called for international intervention.

Witnesses in Tripoli, northwest Libya, told heartbreaking stories of discovering entire families lost in the flood waters. Khalifah Touil, an emergency manager, made an urgent plea for assistance and resources.

Derna, located on Libya’s eastern Mediterranean coast, is under the control of influential military commander Khalifa Hifter, who is aligned with the government of eastern Libya. The west, including the capital Tripoli, is under the jurisdiction of opposing factions connected to a different administration.

This article is sourced from and written by AI.

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