Thousands of people are feared dead in Libya after Storm Daniel caused devastating floods which swept away entire neighbourhoods and wrecked homes in multiple coastal towns, officials said Monday.
The confirmed death toll fromatthe weekend flooding stood at 38, according to health authorities. But the tally did not include Derna, the worst-hit city, which had become inaccessible.
Video by residents posted online showed major devastation. Entire residential block areas were wiped out along Wadi Derna, a river which runs down from the mountains to the city centre. Multi-storey apartment buildings previously set back from the river collapsed into the mud.
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The municipal council in Derna announced the collapse of two dams due to severe rains.
In a phone interview with al-Masar TV station on Monday, Prime Minister Ossama Hamad of the east Libyan government said 2,000 were feared dead in Derna, and thousands were still missing. The area had been eclared a disaster zone.
At least 23 people were reported dead in the eastern town of Bayda, the town’s main medical centre said.
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A further seven people were reported dead in the coastal town of Susa in northeastern Libya, according to the Ambulance and Emergency Authority. Seven others were reported dead in the towns of Shahatt and Omar al-Mokhtar, the minister said.
The Libyan Red Crescent said it lost contact with one of its workers as he attempted to help a stuck family in Bayda. Dozens of others were reported missing, and authorities fear they could have died in the floods that destroyed homes and other properties in several towns in eastern Libya, according to local media.
Essam Abu Zeriba, the interior minister of the east Libya government, said more than 5,000 people were expected to be missing in Derna. He said many of the victims were swept away towards the Mediterranean.
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