The eastern Libyan city of Derna has been gripped by a powerful storm and devastating floods, resulting in an alarming death toll that has now surged to a staggering 5,200, according to local authorities.
The disaster, brought about by Storm Daniel, has left the entire region reeling as it grapples with immense human and infrastructural losses.
Tareq al-Kharaz, a spokesman for the East Libya-based Interior Ministry, told Anadolu Agency that “around 5,200 people were killed in Derna city alone.”
Approximately 1,300 bodies have been identified and laid to rest by their grieving families, while many corpses remain unidentified and unburied.
“Entire families have vanished as a result of the deadly storm,” al-Kharaz said.
The Libyan spokesman grimly anticipated that the death toll in Derna may surpass a staggering 10,000, given the massive damage inflicted upon the city’s infrastructure.
Initial reports revealed that dozens of villages and towns in the region have been submerged by the catastrophic floods, which were exacerbated by the collapse of two dams and four bridges in Derna.
Eastern Libya’s Health Minister Othman Abduljaleel told the Associated Press that the country was “stunned by the amount of destruction.”
“The tragedy is very significant, and beyond the capacity of Derna and the government,” he added.
Videos shared on social media showed harrowing scenes of people stranded on the roofs of their submerged vehicles during the storm.
The disaster affected several other Libyan cities, including Benghazi, Sousse, Al Bayda, and Al-Marj.
Authorities in those regions have declared a state of extreme emergency, as well as implemented measures such as closing schools and stores, and imposing a curfew to ensure the safety of the population.