Sunday, December 3, 2023

Libya floods: Up to 6,000 dead, thousands missing

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Flooding has struck northeastern regions of Libya.

The death toll from the floods in the eastern Libya has risen to 6,000, with thousands still missing, a unity government official said on Wednesday.

Libya’s eastern administration said 5,300 bodies have been counted in Derna alone so far, with that number expected to rise and even double.

The sea at Derna is “constantly dumping dozens of bodies”, Hichem Chkiouat, the minister of civil aviation in the administration that runs eastern Libya, said.

He appealed for international help, saying Libya does not have the experience to deal with a disaster of this magnitude.

Flags are flying at half-staff in Tripoli as aid from western Libya and other countries has started to pour into the east of the country, Al Jazeera reported.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Libya says at least 30,000 people have been displaced in Derna.

In a post on X, the IOM said 6,085 other people have been displaced in other storm-hit areas, including Benghazi, with the number of deaths still unverified.

“IOM & partners are immediately prepositioning NFIs [non-food items], medicines, search and rescue equipment and personnel to the affected areas,” the UN agency said.

In a statement released by his Spokesperson, UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed his heartfelt condolences to the Libyan authorities and the families of those who have perished,

“At this time, our thoughts are with the thousands of people being affected there in their communities, we stand in solidarity with all people in Libya during this difficult time”, said Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, briefing reporters in New York.

He said the UN team on the ground is responding at the site.

“Furthermore, we are mobilizing resources and emergency teams to support those affected people and are working with local, national, and international partners to get urgently needed humanitarian assistance to people in the affected areas.”

The UN is working with Libyan authorities to assess needs and support ongoing relief efforts, he added.

Libya is in effect under the control of two rival administrations, the internationally recognized Government in Tripoli, and authorities based along with the parliament in the east. 

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