Over 5,000 presumed dead in Libya after catastrophic flooding breaks dams, sweeps away homes


Over 5,000 people are presumed dead and 10,000 missing after heavy rains in north-eastern Libya caused two dams to collapse, surging more water into already inundated areas, CNN news reports.

Tamer Ramadan, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies delegation in Libya, gave the numbers of missing people during a briefing to reporters in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday.

“The death toll is huge,” she said.

At least 5,300 people were thought dead, said the interior ministry of Libya’s eastern government on Tuesday, state media LANA reported.

CNN could not independently verify the number of deaths or those missing.

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Of those who were killed, at least 145 were Egyptian, officials in the north-eastern city of Tobruk, in Libya, said on Tuesday.

In the eastern city of Derna, which had seen the worst of the devastation, as many as 6,000 people remain missing, Othman Abduljalil, health minister in Libya’s eastern administration, told Libya’s Almasar TV.

He called the situation “catastrophic,” when he toured the city on Monday.

Whole neighbourhoods are believed to have been washed away in the city, according to authorities.

Hospitals in Derna are no longer operable and the morgues are full, said Osama Aly, an Emergency and Ambulance service spokesperson.

Dead bodies have been left outside the morgues on the sidewalks, he told CNN.

“There are no first-hand emergency services. People are working at the moment to collect the rotting bodies,” said Anas Barghathy, a doctor currently volunteering in Derna.

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