Libya - Flood Death Toll Rises to More Than 5,000

Extreme rainfall from a storm system has caused devastating loss of life and property in Libya.
13 September 2023

Aid workers and officials have said that the death toll is likely to rise, as bodies continue to wash up ashore. The UN migration agency said that at least 30,000 people in eastern Libya have been displaced.

Flooding in eastern Libya has left more than 5,100 people dead, officials said on Wednesday.

Thousands more people were missing in the eastern city of Derna, and tens of thousands were displaced.

Mediterranean storm Daniel arrived in Libya on Sunday, and caused two dams outside the city of Derna to burst.

Thousands injured, tens of thousands displaced

More than 7,000 people were injured in Derna, aid worker Ossama Ali told the Associated Press (AP). Most of them were being treated in field hospitals set up by authorities and aid agencies.

The UN migration agency, the International Organization for Migration, said that at least 30,000 people in Derna lost their homes to flooding. The agency said that the damage was so extensive that the city was almost inaccessible to aid workers.

Derna lies on a narrow coastal plain on the Mediterranean under steep mountains. Only two roads from the south remain usable, hampering the movement of aid workers.

Aid workers and officials have said that the death toll is likely to keep rising, as bodies continue to wash up ashore.

"Bodies are everywhere, inside houses, in the streets, at sea. Wherever you go, you find dead men, women, and children," Emad al- Falah, an aid worker from Benghazi, told AP. "Entire families were lost."

EU pledges aid to Libya

Also on Wednesday, the EU Commission said that the bloc would provide disaster response equipment and humanitarian funding worth €500,000 ($537,000).

Among the equipment offered are tents, field beds, blankets, 80 generators, food items, hospital tents and water tanks.

The humanitarian funding is to go to organizations "operating on the ground to deliver lifesaving health and water and sanitation supplies."

Libya's representative to the United Nations in Geneva had requested help from the EU on Tuesday, the commission's press release said.

(AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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