Libya-More than 1,000 bodies discovered in Derna after floods-minister – 09/12/2023

Libya-More than 1,000 bodies discovered in Derna after floods-minister – 09/12/2023

TUNIS, Sept 12 (Reuters) – More than 1,000 bodies have been discovered in Libya’s flood-hit northeastern town of Derna, an eastern government minister said on Tuesday, adding that the toll is expected to rise further.

“I have just returned from Derna. The situation is disastrous. There are bodies everywhere – in the sea, in the valleys, under buildings,” Hichem Chkiouat, minister of civil aviation and member of the committee of civil aviation, told Reuters. emergency.

“The number of bodies found in Derna is more than 1,000,” he added, saying he expected the final toll to be “very, very heavy”.

“I am not exaggerating when I say that 25% of the city has disappeared. Many buildings have collapsed.”

Authorities in the east of the country said Monday that at least 2,000 people had been killed in floods caused by Storm Daniel, although it was unclear how the death toll was established.

Thousands of other people are missing according to the authorities while entire neighborhoods of Derna were invaded by the floods after the rupture of dams upstream of the city.

A video shared on Facebook, the authenticity of which Reuters could not verify, appears to show dozens of bodies covered with blankets on the sidewalks of Derna.

Storm Daniel, which hit Turkey and Greece last week, also hit several towns along the Libyan coast, including Benghazi, the country’s second city.

The head of the government of national unity, Abdel Hamid Dbeibah, declared on Tuesday on the X platform (ex-Twitter) that an emergency medical supply plane carrying supplies, medicines, equipment, body bags as well as 87 medical and paramedical personnel were heading to Benghazi to support flood-affected areas.

“The news about the severe flooding in Libya is dismaying. Many deaths and injuries are expected, particularly in the east of the country,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on X, specifying that his country was ready to provide assistance.

Egypt, Qatar, Iran and Italy are among the countries that have said they are ready to send aid. The United States also said it was coordinating with its U.N. partners and Libyan authorities to determine how to participate in relief operations. (Reporting by Tarek Amara in Tunis, written by Tom Perry, Blandine Hénault for the French version)

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