A week after the devastating floods that devastated the Libyan city of Derna and they left thousands of deadlocal rescuers, supported by foreign teams, continued the search for the bodies of those still missing on Sunday.
The rescue teams, dressed in protective suits and masks, continue with the arduous task of searching. survivors They may be stuck in the mud or between destroyed buildings, crushed cars, or under fallen trees.
The agencies of the UN warned that residents of Derna, a city of 100,000, urgently need drinking water, food, shelter and basic supplies in the face of the increasing risk of anger, diarrhea, dehydration and malnutrition.
Mohammed Al Zawi25 years old, told AFP that on the night of the tragedy he saw torrents of water carrying cars with people inside, people drifting in the waters and objects pushed by the current.
“Everything ended up in the sea,” he said.
The work of emergency teams is hampered by the division in power, with two governments facing each other, one in the capital Tripoliwhich is recognized by the UN, and others in the east, in the affected area.
According to a latest report from the Minister of Health of the eastern government of the country, Othman Abdeljalilthe disaster left 3,283 deadafter the discovery of 31 corpses on Sunday.
The Libyan Red Crescent this Sunday denied a balance sheet issued by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) what is there 11,300 dead, which cited data from this local organization as a source.
“We were surprised to see our name involved in those figures. “They add to the confusion, to the desperation of the families of the missing,” he declared to AFP from Benghazi the spokesperson of the Libyan Red Crescent, Tawfik Shoukri.
These contradictory balances show the division and the absence of a centralized authority in Libyaa country plunged into chaos since the 2011 uprising that toppled the dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
On the other hand, four members of a Greek rescue team died and 15 others were injured, seven of them “in critical condition”, in a “horrible road accident” when they were going from Benghazi to Derna, said the Minister of Health.
“I saw death”
The Storm Daniel It hit Derna on September 10, causing the collapse of two dams located on the normally dry riverbed that crosses the city.
Mohammad Abdelhafidha Lebanese who has lived in Derna for decades, told AFP He was sleeping when he felt a “tremor” and saw how the water rose to his apartment, which is on the third floor.
“I saw death,” he said.
According to the city’s inhabitants, Most of the fatalities were buried under mud or dragged into the Mediterranean Sea.
Hamza Al-Khafifi, a Benghazi soldier, described how he found naked bodies of “elders, youth, women, men and children” scattered along the coast. “The bodies were trapped between the rocks.”
On Sunday, in the port of Derna, three volunteer divers from western Libya contented themselves with watching as an Italian rescue team used an underwater camera to search for bodies in the water.
According to them, the Libyan Red Crescent asked them to let “specialized teams work (…) because the decomposition of the bodies poses a risk to their health.”
A “great challenge” of coordination
“I have seen with my own eyes the magnitude of the disaster. “This crisis exceeds Libya’s capacity to manage it,” the UN envoy to Libya declared on Saturday. Abdoulaye Bathilyafter visiting Derna.
The head for Libya of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Tauhid Pasha, published on X (formerly Twitter) that the objective is to channel all authorities “so that they work together, coordinated.”
Despite the difficulties, international mobilization continues and planes with aid continue to land at the airport in Benghazi, the main city in the east. There are already brigades on the ground France, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates.
The magnitude of the devastation in and around Derna sparked a wave of solidarity in the divided country, where citizens began collecting donations to help the victims.