Fears mount of surging death toll in Libya flood disaster

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DERNA, Libya – Libya was reeling on Wednesday from a massive flood that left nearly 4,000 dead and thousands more missing, wreaking havoc in the eastern city of Derna where bodies wrapped in blankets lined the ravaged streets.

Relief missions gathered pace with Turkey, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates among the first nations to rush aid to the war-scarred country after the disaster that also displaced tens of thousands.

The Mediterranean coastal city of Derna was hit by a huge flash flood late on Sunday that witnesses likened to a tsunami after two upstream dams burst when torrential rains brought by Storm Daniel battered the region.

Footage broadcast by state media showed an apocalyptic landscape in the city, with debris littering streets and people lifting sheets off bodies lying on sidewalks to try to identify them.

Satellite images of Derna after the surge of water showed coastal neighbourhoods almost entirely submerged.

The United Nations has pledged US$10 million (S$13.6 million) in support for survivors, including at least 30,000 people it said had been left homeless in Derna.

The wall of water ripped away buildings, vehicles and the people inside them. Many were swept out into the sea, with bodies later washing up on beaches littered with debris and car wrecks.

Traumatised survivors have dug through the mud-caked ruins of shattered buildings to recover bodies, scores of which were lying out in the open before being buried in mass graves.

The confirmed death toll reached 3,840 by Wednesday afternoon, said Lieutenant Tarek al-Kharraz, spokesman for the eastern-based government’s interior ministry.

The figure includes 3,190 victims who have already been buried and at least 400 foreigners, mostly from Sudan and Egypt, Lt Kharraz told AFP, adding 2,400 people were still missing.

Some media reports have quoted officials giving higher tolls.

Mr Tamer Ramadan of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said on Tuesday “the death toll is huge” and is likely to grow.

He added the organisation had independent sources saying that “the number of missing people is hitting 10,000 persons so far”.

EMEA Tribune is not involved in this news article, it is taken from our partners and or from the News Agencies. Copyright and Credit go to the News Agencies, email [email protected]

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