MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, September 27th 2023 - 06:24 UTC



Libyan storm: Death toll reaches 5,300 and 10,000 people are missing

Wednesday, September 13th 2023 - 10:44 UTC
Full article
People had to resort to rudimentary means to retrieve bodies and pull survivors from the mud People had to resort to rudimentary means to retrieve bodies and pull survivors from the mud

The latest reports from civil war-torn Libya speak of more than 5,300 casualties left by Storm Daniel, in addition to more than 7,000 people treated for injuries and around 10,000 still missing. It is the worst natural disaster to hit this part of the country since the 1963 earthquake in the city of Al Marj.

Read also: Over 2,000 people feared dead as Storm Daniel hits war-torn Libya

Images from the city of Derna show several buildings on the banks of a river collapsing and small houses disappearing in the rising waters after two dams burst.

“We don't have definitive figures” at the moment, said Tamer Ramadan of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), but “the number of missing is close to 10,000.” “The humanitarian needs far exceed the capacities of the Libyan Red Crescent and even those of the government,” Ramadan explained from Tunis. Among the dead are three Libyan Red Crescent volunteers who were helping people affected by the disaster, the IFRC said.

The Libyan unity government, led by Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibé, announced that 2 billion dinars (€ 384 million) will be allocated for the reconstruction of the municipalities affected by the storm.

According to eastern Libya authorities, the two main dams on the Wadi Derna River burst on Sunday night, causing mudslides that destroyed bridges and buildings in their path until they flowed into the Mediterranean, rendering rescuers helpless. With many roads cut off, landslides and floods prevented emergency services from reaching people in the affected areas, who had to resort to rudimentary means to retrieve bodies and pull survivors from the mud.

US President Joe Biden sent his “deepest condolences” to the victims and announced additional funding and support, according to a White House statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he shared “the pain and sorrow of the kind people of Libya,” according to a Kremlin statement.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres expressed his solidarity with the people and authorities of Libya after the passage of the storm Daniel.

Eastern Libya is home to the main oil fields and oil terminals. The National Oil Company (NOC) has declared a “state of maximum alert” and “suspended flights” between production centers, where activity has been drastically reduced.

Turkish rescue teams arrived in eastern Libya while France announced the dispatch of personnel and a field hospital. The US Ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland, announced on X that the embassy had issued a ”humanitarian needs statement (that) will authorize initial funding” from his country to provide aid to emergency teams.

Hospitals in Derna have reportedly been knocked out of commission, and their morgues are full. Dead bodies are left on sidewalks outside the morgues, Dr. Anas Barghathy, who is doing volunteer work in Derna, told CNN. “There are no firsthand emergency services,” he said. “People are working at the moment to collect the rotting bodies.”

The disaster came just three days after Morocco was hammered by an earthquake that left over 2,900 dead and counting.


Categories: Environment, International.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!