The death toll from the devastating floods in Libya’s coastal city of Derna could rise to an estimated 6,000, according to local officials. The figure is expected to continue to rise as recovery operations continue in the city.
The flooding, which witnesses compared to a tsunami, was caused by abundant rain from storm Daniel, which hit Libya on Sunday after the storm had earlier moved through Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey.
RNews reported earlier that at least 2,300 people have died and thousands are still missing. Some neighborhoods were completely destroyed.
Scores of lifeless bodies wrapped in blankets lay in the dilapidated streets of Derna. According to international humanitarian workers, around 10,000 people are still missing.
Several countries have already offered aid and sent rescue teams to the war-torn country. Turkey, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates are among the first countries to offer aid to Libya.
Footage broadcast on Al Masar and shared on social media showed parts of the city in ruins, with damaged roads and collapsed buildings.
Satellite images of the city show how neighborhoods near the coast were almost completely submerged.
The floods swept away buildings, vehicles and people in them, many of which ended up in the sea. Scores of bodies later washed up on beaches – which were strewn with debris from collapsed buildings and car wrecks.
Traumatized survivors dug through the mud-covered rubble to find victims’ bodies, many lying in blankets on the streets before being buried in mass graves.
“The death toll could rise by thousands,” Tamer Ramadan of the international Red Cross and Red Crescent Society said on Tuesday.
The United Nations pledged $10 million in support for survivors, including the more than 30,000 people left homeless.
Pres. On behalf of the government and the people of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his grief over the two natural disasters in the north of Africa, which together claimed the lives of almost 8,000 people.
“More than 5,000 people have already died due to the flooding related to storm Daniel in the east of Libya, while more than 2,000 people died last weekend in an earthquake in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco,” says Ramaphosa.
“South Africa shares the pain and loss experienced by the people of eastern Libya and Morocco. These disasters once again emphasize the fragility of life when confronted by natural forces.”