Floods in eastern Libyan are thought to have killed more than 5,300 people and left thousands more missing.

Emergency personnel found more than 1,500 dead amid the debris of the eastern Libyan city of Derna on Tuesday, and it was anticipated that the death toll could rise further given that 10,000 people are still listed as missing. Floodwaters burst through dams and completely destroyed the city’s neighborhoods.

Mohammed Abu-Lamousha, the spokesperson for the eastern Libya interior ministry, was quoted as claiming on Tuesday that the death toll in Derna alone has surpassed 5,300. The death toll was initially estimated at 2,300 by Derna’s ambulance authority.

The shocking loss of life and destruction brought on by the Mediterranean storm Daniel highlighted both the storm’s power and the vulnerability of a country that has been torn apart by anarchy for more than a decade. Rival regimes that control opposite sides of the nation—one in the east and the other in the west—have caused widespread infrastructure disrepair.

On Tuesday, outside assistance had not yet arrived in Derna, more than 36 hours after the disaster. Many of the city’s 89,000-person access roadways were damaged or destroyed by the floods.

In one hospital’s yard, video revealed dozens of remains that were draped in blankets. Another picture showed a mass cemetery full of bodies. According to the health minister for eastern Libya, more than 1,500 bodies were gathered, and as of Tuesday night, half of them had been interred.

However, the death toll is probably greater—in the thousands, according to Tamer Ramadan, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ representative in Libya. He informed a UN session in Geneva that at least 10,000 individuals were still missing via videoconference from Tunisia. More than 40,000 people have been displaced, he said later on Tuesday.

According to Ramadan, the situation in Libya is “as devastating as the situation in Morocco,” alluding to the fatal earthquake that occurred on Friday night close to the city of Marrakesh.

On Sunday night, Derna and other areas of eastern Libya experienced catastrophe. Residents of Derna reported hearing tremendous explosions as the storm battered the coast and later discovering that dams outside the city had collapsed. Wadi Derna, a river that flows from the highlands through the city and into the sea, was wracked by flash floods.

Ahmed Abdalla, one of the residents, claimed that the water wall “erased everything in its way.”

Large swathes of muck and devastation were visible in videos uploaded online by locals, where the rushing rivers had swept away neighborhoods on both banks of the river. Facades of multi-story apartment complexes that were originally well distant from the river were torn off, and concrete floors fell. The flood lifted the cars, which were then piled on top of one another.

The National Meteorological Center of Libya reported on Tuesday that it had sent out early warnings for Storm Daniel, an “extreme weather event,” 72 hours before its arrival and had alerted all relevant government agencies via emails and the media, “urging them to take preventive measures. It said that from Sunday to Monday, Bayda saw rainfall totals of a record 414.1 millimeters (16.3 inches).

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