OAN’s Abril Elfi
1:50 PM – Friday, September 15, 2023
Authorities have confirmed that at least 11,000 people have been presumed dead and more than 10,000 are still missing after the tragic flood in Libya.
On Friday, Libyan authorities restricted access to the city of Derna, where the deadly flood hit earlier this week. The limitation of access comes to make it easier for search and rescue to look for the thousands of people who are still missing.
The restricted access has also helped aid groups come into the city to distribute basic supplies, which include food, clean water and medical supplies for survivors who have been fending for themselves through the tragic event.
Medical coordinator for Doctors Without Borders, Manoelle Carton, described her experience when arriving in the city to help, calling it “chaotic.”
“Everybody wants to help. But it is becoming chaotic,” she said. “There is an enormous need for coordination.”
According to authorities the death toll is expected to continue to rise as thousands of more bodies are expected to be found.
Regional forensics manager for Africa at the International Committee of the Red Cross, Bilal Sablouh, has reportedly stated that bodies “are littering the streets, washing back up on shore and buried under collapsed buildings and debris.”
“In just two hours, one of my colleagues counted over 200 bodies on the beach near Derna,” he said.
According to Othman Abduljaleel, Eastern Libya’s health minister, rescue teams have been burying bodies in large graves in nearby towns.
Carton also said that most of the dead bodies had been cleared from the streets in the areas of the city visited by the Doctors Without Borders team, but there were other troubling signs, such as one of the three medical centers they visited being closed “because almost all of the medical staff died.”
Health experts warned that standing water constituted a breeding ground for disease. However, there was no need to rush burials because bodies do not pose a concern in such situations.
The International Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor reportedly said that there are left over explosives from a civil conflict that happened in 2011 and between then and 2021, roughly 3,457 people have been killed in Libya because of it.
The flood hit Derna on September 11th, misplacing thousands of people who now are homeless and desperately looking for their missing loved ones.
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