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Derna evacuation likely amid health risks: Libya Red Crescent

September 18, 2023 at 3:17 pm

A view of devastation after the floods caused by the Storm Daniel ravaged the region, in Derna, Libya on September 16, 2023 [Abdullah Mohammed Bonja – Anadolu Agency]

The evacuation of the eastern city of Derna following last week’s deadly floods is likely, the head of the Libyan Red Crescent said on Monday, Anadolu Agency reports.

The evacuating of Derna city remains a possible option, depending on the health situation in the area

Abdul Salam Al-Hajj told Anadolu.

There are real health risks as unburied corpses and contaminated water

he added.

Derna was hardest hit by deadly flooding caused by Mediterranean Storm Daniel last Sunday, causing the city’s dams to burst, washing away homes and people.

Thousands are believed to have been killed in the floods, though Libyan authorities have not yet released an exact death toll.

READ: 55 children poisoned by polluted water in Libya coastal city: Unity government

According to the UN Humanitarian Office (OCHA), at least 3,958 people have died across Libya due to flooding, revising its previous death toll of 11,300.

On Saturday, East Libya-based Health Minister, Osama Hamad, said that 3,252 corpses had been buried, so far.

More than 40,000 people have been displaced across Libya’s north-eastern areas by the deadly floods, the UN office said.

On Saturday, Haidar Al-Sayeh, head of the Tripoli-based National Centre for Disease Control, declared a state of emergency for one year in all the eastern regions that were struck by floods.

Al-Hajj said Libyan medics are still facing difficulties reaching flood-affected areas, amid a lack of logistics.

“The Red Crescent teams are working to distribute aid to those affected, rescue the injured and recover the dead bodies,” he added.

Al-Hajj stressed that the Libyan Red Crescent does not have an exact death toll in Libya following the floods.

“Around 20,000 families have been displaced by the floods,” he added.

READ: UN warns 2 other dams in Libya may burst