More than 3,000 people have died from flash flooding caused by Storm Daniel in eastern Libya and 10,000 more are missing after entire neighbourhoods were swept away, according to officials.
According to international media reports, the health minister of Libya’s parliament-appointed government, Osman Abdulcelil, told reporters on Tuesday that most of the 3,000 deaths occurred in the city of Derna, where videos shared on social media appeared to show dozens of bodies covered in blankets on the pavements.
“I returned from Derna. It is very disastrous. Bodies are lying everywhere — in the sea, in the valleys, under the buildings,” Hichem Chkiouat, minister of civil aviation and member of the emergency committee, told reporters.
“The number of bodies recovered in Derna is more 1,000,” he said. He expected the final toll would be “really, really big.”
“I am not exaggerating when I say that 25 percent of the city has disappeared. Many, many buildings have collapsed.”
Around 10,000 people are also thought to be missing following the major floods, an official from the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said.
“We can confirm from our independent sources of information that the number of missing people is hitting 10,000 so far,” Tamer Ramadan, the head of the IFRC delegation in Libya, told reporters in Geneva via video link from Tunisia on Tuesday.
Ramadan also said “the death toll is huge and might reach thousands”.
A day earlier, officials in the administration that runs the eastern part of the divided country said that at least 2,000 people had been killed by the floods, though it was not immediately clear what that estimate was based on.