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Flooding in Libya Has Killed More than 5,000 People

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Photo: Flooding in Libya has Killed More than 5,000 People. Source: Dr. Karim Wafa
Photo: Flooding in Libya has Killed More than 5,000 People. Source: Dr. Karim Wafa

According to local authorities, more than 5,000 people have already died as a result of the catastrophic floods in Libya, although the actual scale of the disaster could be much greater. As a result of this tragedy, entire families died, and many people were buried in large mass graves, the BBC reports.



"The number of missing persons is estimated to be in the thousands, and the death toll is expected to reach 10,000," said Osman Abdel Jalil, the health minister of the administration that controls eastern Libya.



The floods were caused by heavy rains brought by Storm Daniel. It is already being called the most serious natural disaster in Libya's history. In the northeast of the region, heavy rains caused the destruction of flood defences.



The main affected areas and destruction were concentrated in the port city of Derna in the east of the country, where two dams were destroyed by the water pressure.



In Derna, entire neighbourhoods were flooded. More than 700 unidentified bodies have been found in the local cemetery, and local authorities claim that thousands of people are missing.



"The situation in Derna is becoming more and more tragic, and there is no final data on the number of victims. Many areas remain inaccessible," Jalil said.



Many people have been washed away into the Mediterranean Sea, and for several days now the waves have been throwing their bodies onto the coast.


"Bodies are everywhere - in the sea, in the valleys, under houses. I am not exaggerating when I say that 25% of the city is gone. The final losses will be very, very high," a local government official told reporters.



One of the residents of Derna noted that one of the aggravating circumstances of the tragedy was the terrain: "Some of the valleys where water is collected are about 400 metres deep. Therefore, when the dam broke, the water exploded like an atomic bomb, and eight bridges and residential buildings completely collapsed."



In addition to Derna, the cities of Benghazi, Sousse and Al-Maj in the east of the country were also affected. Seven members of the Libyan army disappeared during the rescue operations.



The authorities in eastern Libya imposed a curfew, and schools and shops were ordered to close.



One of the reasons for the catastrophic consequences of the floods is that none of the warring parties involved in the civil war in Libya has invested in maintaining and repairing infrastructure.



Last week, Storm Daniel also hit Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria, killing more than ten people.

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