Libya floods wipe out quarter of city, death toll passes 2,000

  • Storm Daniel hits nation crumbling from battle
  • Hospital director says death toll stands at 2,200
  • Dams burst in Derna, wiping out elements of metropolis
  • UN says emergency groups being mobilised on the bottom

DERNA, Libya, Sept 12 (Reuters) – More than 2,000 individuals have been killed and at the least 10,000 have been lacking in Libya in floods attributable to an enormous Mediterranean storm that burst dams, swept away buildings and wiped out as a lot as a quarter of the jap coastal metropolis of Derna.

Officials anticipated the death toll to rise additional after Storm Daniel barrelled throughout the Mediterranean into a rustic divided and crumbling after greater than a decade of battle.

In Derna, a metropolis of round 125,000 inhabitants, Reuters journalists noticed wrecked neighbourhoods, their buildings washed out and vehicles flipped on their roofs in streets lined in mud and rubble left by a large torrent after dams burst.

Mohamad al-Qabisi, director of the Wahda Hospital, mentioned 1,700 individuals had died in a single of town’s two districts and 500 had died within the different.

Reuters journalists noticed many our bodies laid out on the bottom within the hospital corridors. As extra our bodies have been dropped at the hospital individuals checked out them, making an attempt to establish lacking members of the family.

“Bodies are lying everywhere – in the sea, in the valleys, under the buildings,” Hichem Abu Chkiouat, minister of civil aviation within the administration that controls the east, instructed Reuters by cellphone shortly after visiting Derna.

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

Abu Chkiouat later instructed Al Jazeera that he anticipated the overall quantity of useless throughout the nation to achieve greater than 2,500, because the quantity of lacking individuals was rising.

Other jap cities together with Libya’s second largest metropolis Benghazi, have been additionally hit by the storm. Tamer Ramadan, head of a delegation of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, mentioned the death toll could be “huge”.

“We can confirm from our independent sources of information that the number of missing people is hitting 10,000 so far,” he instructed reporters through video link.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs mentioned emergency response groups had been mobilised to assist on the bottom.

As Turkey and different nations rushed support to Libya, together with search and rescue automobiles, rescue boats, mills and meals, distraught Derna residents rushed house in search of family members.

Reuters Graphics


In Derna, Mostafa Salem, 39, mentioned he had misplaced 30 of his kinfolk. “Most people were sleeping. Nobody was ready,” Salem instructed Reuters.

Raja Sassi, 39, survived the flood together with his spouse and small daughter after water had reached an higher flooring, however the remaining of his household had died, he mentioned.

“At first we just thought it was heavy rain but at midnight we heard a huge explosion and it was the dam bursting,” he mentioned.

At Tripoli airport in northwest Libya, a lady wailed as she acquired a name saying most of her household have been useless or lacking. Her brother-in-law, Walid Abdulati, mentioned: “we are not speaking about one or two people dead, but up to 10 members of each family dead.”

Karim al-Obaidi, a passenger on a aircraft from Tripoli to the east, mentioned: “I have never felt as frightened as I do now … I lost contact with all my family, friends and neighbours.”

An inside ministry spokesperson instructed Al Jazeera that naval groups have been trying to find the “many families that were swept into the sea in the city of Derna”.


Derna is bisected by a seasonal river that flows from highlands to the south, and usually protected against flooding by dams.

A video posted on social media confirmed remnants of a collapsed dam 11.5 km (7 miles) upstream of town the place two river valleys converged, now surrounded by big swimming pools of mud-coloured water.

“There used to be a dam,” a voice may be heard saying within the video. Reuters confirmed the placement based mostly on the photographs.

In a analysis paper revealed final 12 months, hydrologist Abdelwanees A. R. Ashoor of Libya’s Omar Al-Mukhtar University mentioned repeated flooding of the seasonal riverbed, or wadi, was a menace to Derna. He cited 5 floods since 1942, and known as for quick steps to make sure common upkeep of the dams.

“If a huge flood happens the result will be catastrophic for the people of the wadi and the city,” the paper mentioned.

Pope Francis was amongst world leaders who mentioned they have been deeply saddened by the deaths and destruction in Libya. U.S. President Joe Biden despatched his condolences and mentioned Washington was sending emergency funds to reduction organisations.

Libya is politically break up between east and west and public providers have fallen aside since a 2011 NATO-backed rebellion that prompted years of factional battle.

The internationally recognised authorities in Tripoli doesn’t management jap areas however has dispatched support to Derna, with at the least one reduction flight leaving from the western metropolis of Misrata on Tuesday, a Reuters journalist on the aircraft mentioned.

Reporting by Tarek Amara in Tunisia, Ayman Werfali close to Derna and Ahmed Elumami in Al Bayda; further reporting by Laila Bassam, Friedrieke Heine, Angus McDowall, Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, Clauda Tanios, Jana Choukeir, Gavin Jones and Emma Farge; Writing by Tom Perry, Ingrid Melander and Alex Richardson; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Angus MacSwan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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