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Libya floods: Level of destruction “never seen before”, death toll reaches 11,300

Taher El-Sonni, Permanent Representative of the State of Libya to the United Nations, in New York on Sep. 14, 2023.   -  
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Cleared / USUNTV via EBU


The current extent of the devastation caused by floods in eastern Liby is becoming apparent.  The provisional death toll stood at 11,300, secretary-general of the Libyan Red Crescent said late Thursday (Sep. 14).

Untold numbers are buried under mud and debris that includes overturned cars and chunks of concrete. 

The collapse of two dams in the aftermath of torrential rain caused the most destruction.

The Permanent Representative of Libya to the United Nations, referred to the catastrophe as “something never seen in Libya before."

"[...] the numbers are changing as we speak. I mean, the numbers are thousands", Taher El-Sonni said on Thursday morning. 

"[...] The direct hit came to an area where it`s around 30,000. And as we speak now, many of those are either being in a rescue effort or missing because they were hit badly when that happens. So I cannot really confirm the final numbers, but it`s really a high level of magnitude. And I`m afraid we will hear really large numbers, maybe even more than what has been confirmed so far."

Libya's eastern administration in Benghazi city approved a budget of nearly 2 billion $US to help flood-affected areas.

The parliament also announced a committee had been set up to follow up on measures to deal with the aftermath of the floods.

The World Health Organization said it was releasing funds to support Libya in addition to 28 metric tons of trauma, surgical, emergency supplies due to arrive on Friday.

International aid is progressively arriving. And local administrations continue search efforts.

The deadly floods that devastated eastern Libya after storm Daniel.

Libya is divided between two rival administrations, one in the east and one in the west.

In the midst of hardship, as government agencies across the country rushed to help the affected areas.

As of Wednesday (Sep.13), at least 30,000 people were displaced by the flooding in the port-city of Derna.

The  World Meteorological Organization head Petteri Taalas said "The emergency management authorities would have been able to carry out the evacuation If there was a normal operating meteorological service."

Taher El-Sonni, the permanent Representative of the State of Libya to the United Nations added that "In terms of the early warning. I mean, we knew that there was a storm and people were warned that there is a storm going to come, but nobody expected the magnitude. I mean, unfortunately, the city is infrastructure was not that perfect. But still, with the magnitude of such flood, two dams were damaged and blasted and exploded. And that`s why the real death toll increased because of that flood that came more than the eye of the storm hit the city itself. So it was just unfortunately all this together which led to that."

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