12.1 C
Saturday, September 23, 2023
    HomeNewsAfricaDeath toll in Libya’s Derna flooding could reach 20,000: Mayor

    Death toll in Libya’s Derna flooding could reach 20,000: Mayor

    - Advertisement -

    Thousands remain missing as rescuers struggle to get to Derna, the city hardest hit by floods unleashed on Sunday by Storm Daniel.

    LIBYA - SEPTEMBER 13: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY - MANDATORY CREDIT - 'TURKISH DISASTER AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY (AFAD) / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Teams of Turkiye's State Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) join search and rescue operations to save lives following devastating floods in Libya on September 13, 2023. Torrential rains from Storm Daniel swept several areas in eastern Libya on Sunday, killing more than 6,000 people with thousands still missing, according to officials. (Photo by Turkiye's Disaster & Emergency Management Authority (AFAD)/ Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

    Video Duration 01 minutes 57 seconds01:57

    Published On 13 Sep 202313 Sep 2023

    Residents of the devastated Libyan city of Derna desperately searched for missing relatives as rescue workers appealed for more body bags, after a catastrophic flood that killed thousands of people and swept many out to sea.

    Swathes of the Mediterranean city were obliterated by a torrent of water unleashed by a powerful storm that swept down a usually dry riverbed on Sunday night, bursting dams above the city. Multistorey buildings collapsed with sleeping families inside.


    list of 4 itemslist 1 of 4

    Deputy mayor of Derna, Libya’s flooded city, describes situation

    list 2 of 4

    Hundreds buried in mass graves as Libya reels from devastating flooding

    list 3 of 4

    Photos: The aftermath of a powerful storm and deadly floods in Libya

    list 4 of 4

    Mapping Libya’s catastrophic flood damage in Derna after Storm Daniel

    end of list

    Spokesperson of the interior ministry Lieutenant Tarek al-Kharraz on Wednesday told the AFP news agency that 3,840 deaths had been recorded in the Mediterranean city so far, including 3,190 who have already been buried. Among them were at least 400 foreigners, mostly from Sudan and Egypt.

    Meanwhile, Hichem Abu Chkiouat, minister of civil aviation in the administration that runs eastern Libya, told the Reuters news agency more than 5,300 dead had been counted so far, and said the number was likely to increase significantly and might even double.

    Derna Mayor Abdulmenam al-Ghaithi told Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television the estimated number of deaths in the city could reach between 18,000 to 20,000 based on the number of districts destroyed by the flood.

    A view shows a damaged car [Esam Omran Al-Fetori/Reuters]

    Derna resident Mahmud Abdulkarim told journalist Moutaz Ali in Tripoli that he lost his mother and brother, after failing to evacuate in time from their first floor apartment following the collapse of a dam.

    “She refused to leave her place … didn’t imagine the situation would be horrible and told him [Abdulkarim] it was just ordinary rains,” Ali reported, from an event organised for Tripoli’s Derwani community.

    According to Abdulkarim, when his mother and brother did decide to finally leave their apartment, they were swept away by the floodwaters once they reached the streets to flee.

    Mabrooka Elmesmary, a journalist who managed to leave Derna on Tuesday, describes the city as a “disaster on a massive scale”. “There is no water, no electricity, no petrol,” she told Al Jazeera. “The city is flattened.”

    Apartment buildings with families inside have been swept away, she said. “There’s a wave of displacement as people are trying to flee Derna but many are stuck because a lot of the roads are blocked or gone,” Elmesmary said, adding that some families have been taking shelter in schools.

    Officials have put the number of missing at 10,000. The UN aid agency OCHA said the figure was at least 5,000.

    The beach was littered with clothes, toys, furniture, shoes and other possessions swept out of homes by the torrent.

    Streets were covered in deep mud and strewn with uprooted trees and hundreds of wrecked cars, many flipped on their sides or onto their roofs. One car was wedged on the second-floor balcony of a gutted building.

    The devastation is clear from high points above Derna, where the densely populated city centre, built along a seasonal riverbed, was now a wide, flat crescent of earth with stretches of muddy water gleaming in the sun. Buildings were swept away.

    Rescue efforts

    Rescue teams have arrived from Egypt, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Qatar, said Derna mayor al-Ghaithi.

    “We actually need teams specialised in recovering bodies,” he said. “I fear that the city will be infected with an epidemic due to the large number of bodies under the rubble and in the water.”

    Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from Benghazi, said a field hospital was part of Qatar’s contribution to this “seemingly growing international aid effort to Libya”.

    “This is one of three Qatari military … cargo planes expected to arrive in Benghazi today,” Stratford said.

    Members of Libya’s Red Crescent recovering vehicles from the floods [Handout/Libya Red Crescent via EPA]

    The aid also includes “medical equipment, medicine, food, tents”, Stratford said. “All the aid here is going to be taken to Derna as quickly as possible.”

    Moreover, Al Jazeera’s Malik Traina, reporting from Tripoli, said there has been an outpouring of support from Libyans themselves from across the country.

    “We haven’t seen this type of unity for many years here in the country,” Traina said.

    Large government convoys with equipment from western Libya have arrived in the east, he said. Volunteer convoys with assistance are also heading towards the east.

    “We’re seeing also now volunteers and people giving whatever they can – water, food, medicine, whatever supplies they can.”

    Rescue operations are complicated by deep political fractures in the country of seven million people that has lacked a strong central government and been at war on and off since a NATO-backed uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

    An internationally recognised Government of National Unity (GNU) is based in Tripoli, in the west, while a parallel administration operates in the east, including Derna.

    Criticism of local authorities in eastern Libya, including those in Derna, has emerged with some saying that locals were not informed that they had to evacuate before the torrent of water flowed through the city.

    However, al-Ghaithi insisted on Wednesday that residents were informed ahead of the flooding.

    ‘We undertook all the precautions and informed the … the inhabitants of the areas the disaster could have taken place, we created an emergency room .. the security forces carried out their duty,” he said.

    Additional reporting from Moutaz Ali in Tripoli

    source https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/9/13/libyans-search-for-families-after-catastrophic-flood-kill-thousands

    - Advertisement -


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Keep exploring...

    Complete Guide to Eid Prayer: Rituals, Cleanliness, Process, and More

    Eid Prayer is a significant festival in Islam, marking the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. One of the most important aspects...

    Eid Al-Fitr: A Comprehensive Guide to Recommended Acts on the Day of Celebration

    Eid Al-Fitr, often referred to as "Eid," is one of the most significant and joyous festivals in the Islamic calendar. It marks the end...

    Related Stories

    Iran congratulates Saudi Arabia on National Day – Middle East Monitor

    Iran has greeted Saudi Arabia on the kingdom’s National Day amid a rapprochement between...

    Remembering Saudi National Day – Middle East Monitor

    Unless otherwise stated in the article above, this work by Middle East Monitor is...

    The Misunderstood Reason Millions of Americans Stopped Going to Church

    The defining problem driving people out is … just how American life works in...

    Libya flood disaster displaced over 43,000 people — IOM

    By AFP – Sep 22,2023 – Last updated at Sep 23,2023 A young flood survivor receives a...

    Mideast faces prospect of ‘environmental catastrophe’: Iraqi PM

    Prime Minister of Iraq Mohammed Shia Al Sudani addresses the 78th Session of the...

    Muslims and Jews must join forces to fight climate change

    RABBI MARC SCHNEIER September 22, 2023  Follow We have just entered the month-long season of the Jewish...

    Repentant Boko Haram member kills wife over alleged infidelity

    By Ndahi Marama, Maiduguri A repentant Boko Haram member, Musa Dauda has killed his wife...

    Muslim girl turned away from school in France for wearing hijab files complaint with UN – Middle East Monitor

    A Muslim student, who had been turned away from school for wearing a kimono,...

    Explore More Articles

    Welcome to the enlightening realm of our Islamic Articles Page – a digital sanctuary where knowledge, spirituality, and the rich tapestry of Islamic culture converge. In an era where information flows ceaselessly and the world seems to spin faster each day, our platform stands as a steadfast beacon of wisdom and reflection.