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Over 5,000 Presumed Dead as Floods in Libya Collapse Dams and Homes

Over 5,000 Presumed Dead as Floods in Libya Collapse Dams and Homes 

By Adeke Chukwuka

Following the collapse of two dams in northeastern Libya due to severe rainfall, more than 5,000 people are thought to be dead, and 10,000 are still missing.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies mission leader in Libya, Tamer Ramadan, provided these sombre facts during a press conference on Tuesday in Geneva, Switzerland, saying, “The death toll is huge.”

The Libyan interior ministry of the eastern government reported at least 5,300 presumed dead, with 145 of them being Egyptian nationals, according to officials in Tobruk, northeastern Libya. This information was conveyed through the state media, LANA.

In the eastern city of Derna, which has borne the brunt of the destruction, there are concerns about the whereabouts of as many as 6,000 individuals, as reported by Othman Abduljalil, the health minister in Libya’s eastern administration, during an interview with Libya’s Almasar TV. He described the situation as “catastrophic” while inspecting the city on Monday. Authorities believe that the city’s whole neighbourhoods may have been destroyed by the floodwaters.

In Derna, hospitals are non-functional and mortuaries have reached full capacity, according to Osama Aly, a spokesperson for Emergency and Ambulance services. As a result, deceased individuals have been placed outside the mortuaries on sidewalks, he said in talks with CNN.

Anas Barghathy, a volunteer doctor in Derna, explained that there are no immediate emergency services and that efforts are underway to gather the decomposing bodies.

The collapse of two dams near Derna resulted in catastrophic damage. Three bridges were demolished, and entire neighbourhoods were washed away into the sea, according to Ahmed Mismari, a spokesperson for the LNA.

Aly, a spokesperson for the Emergency and Ambulance Authority, claimed that strong muddy currents took away homes in valleys, along with automobiles and trash. Furthermore, phone lines in the city are down, making rescue operations more challenging.

The ongoing storm has led to what’s described as an “unprecedented” situation in Libya, with the potential to become one of the deadliest ever recorded in North Africa. The head of the eastern administration, Hamad, emphasised the severity of the situation.

According to LNA spokesperson Mismari, numerous cities, including Al-Bayda, Al-Marj, Tobruk, Takenis, Al-Bayada, and Battah, as well as the eastern coast up to Benghazi, have been affected. This disaster has resulted in the sweeping of at least 37 residential buildings into the sea.

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