The dead toll from the severe floods in Derna, a city on the eastern coast of Libya, has increased to at least 11,300, even though more deaths are likely to be discovered as search efforts continue according to a UN report released on Saturday.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) of the United Nations has said that an additional 170 people have died due to flooding outside of Derna.
And there are still at least 10,100 persons missing in Derna alone.
“These figures are expected to rise as search-and-rescue crews work tirelessly to find survivors,” it said.
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The UN reports that more than 40,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in northern Libya as a result of the intense rainstorm Storm Daniel delivered.
According to experts, a deadly convergence of circumstances, including deteriorating infrastructure, insufficient warnings, and the repercussions of the rising climate crisis, dramatically increased the storm’s impact.
Flood waters flooded entire neighbourhoods, dividing Derna, the disaster’s epicentre, in half.
Before the tragedy, there were about 100,000 people living there.
The UN reported that Derna alone has seen a displacement of at least 30,000 people.
“With thousands of displaced people now on the move, the risk of exposure to landmines and Explosive Ordnance of War (ERW) leftover from years of conflict is on the rise, as flood waters have now shifted landmines and ERW,” OCHA said.
In addition to cholera, malnutrition, diarrhoea, and dehydration, nearly 300,000 kids who were exposed to the flooding brought on by Storm Daniel are at higher risk for these conditions. Additionally, the children face “increased risks of violence and exploitation,” the research said.
Bodies in the sea that are “severely decomposing”
Rescuers are scouring through collapsed structures and diving into the ocean to find dead bodies as there is less and less hope for surviving.
International rescue teams claimed that the majority of the victims were in the sea and requested extra tools and assistance to remove the bodies from the Mediterranean.
“Bodies are severely decomposing and at one point retrieving them might not be possible,” a representative from the Tunisian mission said in a meeting with counterparts from Russia, Arab countries, Turkey and Italy.
“We need assistance so our intervention is more efficient,” the representative added.
Many of the remains were discovered in bays and coves in the Mediterranean that could only be reached by boat, according to other mission representatives from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
The region was only accessible by divers and boats, the Algerian mission spokesperson claimed, adding that personnel found about 50 victims hanging from a cliff about seven nautical miles from the Derna port.
“If we get the right boats we can retrieve 100 bodies every day,” the Egyptian representative said.
Teams warned that if neighbourhoods in Derna are not evacuated, dead remains that are trapped under mounds of muck could cause a health problem.