CAIRO: More than 1,000 bodies were recovered in the Eastern Libyan city of Derna after the powerful Mediterranean Storm Daniel triggered devastating flooding, local officials said.
Ossama Hamad, prime minister of the east Libya government, said earlier that deaths had exceeded 2,000 and thousands were missing in the city,as many were believed to have been carried away after two upstream dams burst.
So far, there is no official overall death toll for people killed in Derna, Libyan Minister of Civil Aviation and Emergency Committee member Hichem Chkiouat was quoted by Reuters as saying.
“I returned from Derna. It is very disastrous. Bodies are lying everywhere – in the sea, in the valleys, under the buildings,” Chkiouat.
“The number of bodies recovered in Derna is more 1,000,” he said. He expected the final toll would be “really, really big”. “I am not exaggerating when I say that 25% of the city has disappeared. Many, many buildings have collapsed.”
Some Libyan media outlets quoted east Libya’s health minister, Othman Abduljaleel, saying that he expected the number of victims to shockingly rise to 10,000, and those missing to reach about 100,000.
Rescue teams in eastern Libya have retrieved hundreds of bodies from the rubble. More bodies were still under the rubble in the city’s neighborhoods, Abduljaleel said.
The government in east Libya declared the city a disaster zone.
Mediterranean Storm Daniel caused devastating floods in many towns in eastern Libya. But the worst destruction was in Derna, where heavy rainfall and floods broke dams and washed away entire neighborhoods, authorities said.