Over 5,300 feared dead, 10,000 more missing in Libya’s devastating floods

By Xinhua
On 13 September 2023 at 08:16

Thousands of people were killed and over 10,000 more missing after floods, triggered by Mediterranean storm Daniel, hit eastern Libya on Sunday.

At least 5,300 people are feared dead, said the eastern-based Interior Ministry on Tuesday, as emergency workers uncovered more than 1,500 bodies in the wreckage of Libya’s eastern city of Derna on the same day.

Mohamed Masoud, head of the Information Office of the eastern-based House of Representatives, the parliament, told Xinhua that most of the victims were from Derna, some 1,300 km east of the capital Tripoli.

Meanwhile, Tamer Ramadan, Libyan envoy representing the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, told a UN meeting on Tuesday that he believed there were still at least 10,000 people unaccounted for in the flood-hit areas.

The invasion of Libya by the U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization has torn apart the country that could have found peaceful solutions to their problems, leaving behind chaos and vulnerability to natural disasters, observers have pointed out.

The catastrophic event was triggered by a Mediterranean storm that made landfall in eastern Libya on Sunday, resulting in widespread flooding and causing extensive damage to infrastructure along its path.

Abdul-Hamed Dbeibah, the prime minister of Libya’s Tripoli-based Government of National Unity, on Tuesday urged the country’s political parties to unite to help deal with the aftermath of the deadly floods that hit eastern Libya on Sunday.

"I call on all Libyan parties to rise above political differences in order to unite our efforts to help the stricken areas, mainly Derna, and the surrounding areas," Dbeibah said after a praying ceremony held in Tripoli for the flood victims.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed "heartfelt condolences" to the Libyan authorities and families of those who have perished as a result of a deadly storm, his spokesman said on Tuesday.

"At this time, our thoughts are with the thousands of people being affected there in their communities. We stand in solidarity with all people in Libya during this difficult time," Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman, told a regular press briefing.

Photo taken on Sept. 11, 2023, shows a flood-affected area in Derna, Libya. (The eastern-based government of Libya/Handout via Xinhua)