Flash floods have claimed the lives of at least 8,000 individuals in Libya, as reported by Doctors Without Borders (MSF). There are concerns of thousands more missing, as entire buildings were obliterated when a seven-meter wave struck the northern coastal city of Derna, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as of Thursday,Daily Trust reports

Nevertheless, some media outlets have cited higher casualty figures. Derna’s mayor estimated that between 18,000 and 20,000 people perished in the floods. Abdulmenam Al-Ghaithi informed al-Arabiya TV that these estimates were based on the districts that were completely devastated when two dams ruptured over the weekend.

Human rights activists in Derna are urgently requesting additional gravediggers, struggling to cope with the overwhelming number of bodies requiring burial. Abu Bakr Al-Rifadi told the Libyan state news agency LANA that “the torrential waters divided the city of Derna into western and eastern halves.”

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Ali Al-Ghazali, who leads the Namaa Organization in Derna, disclosed that the torrents obliterated at least 25% of the city, with the city center, housing shops, clinics, schools, main roads, and historical sites, suffering the most severe damage.

“It is completely devastated. Currently, foreign teams are present in the city to provide assistance. However, regrettably, the streets are filled with too many corpses. On the third day, most bodies are decomposing, and the stench of death hangs in the air,” Al-Ghazali stated.

“I personally lost relatives in the flood, including my wife’s first cousins. Entire families have been lost. My wife is undergoing cancer treatment, and we relocated her to Benghazi after the flood so she could continue her treatment,” Al-Ghazali added.

Unprecedented rainfall inundated cities in Libya last week, resulting in the rupture of two dams in the northeastern part of the country and causing a deluge of water in Derna, which bore the brunt of the devastation.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has asserted that most of the fatalities from the flash floods in Libya could have been prevented. Relief workers are grappling with challenges in delivering essential aid due to political divisions and debris from the disaster.


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