Heavy flood in Libya‘s eastern city of Derna has killed 700 people and 10,000 have been reported missing as rescue teams struggled to retrieve many more bodies.
Authorities estimated earlier that as many as 2,000 people may have perished in Derna alone.
The storm from the Mediterranean had caused destruction and flash flooding in many towns in eastern Libya. The city of Derna was swept to its destruction.
According to the authorities, Tamer Ramadan, Libya envoy for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said 10,000 people were missing after the flooding.
Speaking to reporters at a U.N. briefing in Geneva via videoconference from Tunisia, he said the death toll was “huge” and expected to reach into the thousands in the coming days.
Ossama Hamad, prime minister of the government in eastern Libya, said that many of the missing were believed to have been carried away after two upstream dams burst.
More bodies were still under the rubble in the city’s neighborhoods, or washed away to the sea, according to eastern Libya’s health minister, Othman Abduljaleel.
Emergency responders, including troops, government workers, volunteers and residents were digging through rubble to recover the dead.
Footage overnight showed dozens more bodies on the ground, covered by blankets or sheets, in a hospital yard in Derna.