Tripoli (Web Desk): More than 5,000 people have reportedly died and over 10,000 missing in the massive floods that wiped out quarter of Derna city of eastern Libya on Monday.
Storm Daniel swept eastern Libya, collapsing two dams, as flash floods were unleashed down River Derna, a river running from the mountains through the city and into the sea. The wall of water erased everything in its way.
The storm hit other areas in eastern Libya, including the town of Bayda, where about 50 people were reported dead. Other towns that suffered included Susa, Marj and Shahatt, according to the government. Hundreds of families were displaced and took shelter in schools and other government buildings in Benghazi and elsewhere in eastern Libya.
Devastation by storm has wreaked the vulnerable nation torn apart by chaos for more than a decade. The country is divided by rival governments, one in the east, the other in the west, and the result has been neglect of infrastructure in many areas
In the capital Tripoli, Government of National Unity Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah announced on Tuesday that an aid plane carrying 14 tonnes of supplies and medical personnel is headed to Benghazi to help, although there are still difficulties entering the hardest-hit city of Derna.
Some 20,000 people have been displaced, according to estimates.
Relief convoys are moving from west to east in divided Libya as the internationally recognised Tripoli government has declared the eastern region a disaster zone and announced it would be sending help.
The Benghazi administration in eastern Libya said more than 1,000 bodies have been retrieved in the Mediterranean city of Derna.
The administration also said “not exaggerating when say that 25 percent of the city has disappeared.”
Libya envoy for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Tamer Ramadan said “But the toll is likely to be higher”. He told a U.N. briefing in Geneva via video-conference from Tunisia that more than 40,000 people have been displaced.
He expressed his concerns that dealing with the flooding is “beyond the capabilities of the government, of the national society, of the people” and that assistance from international actors would be needed.
Communications with the affected cities have been cut off by the storm, which had made gathering information on casualties and damage difficult.