Creating new perspectives since 2009

Libya begins sterilisation campaign for corpse collection sites in flood-hit areas

September 18, 2023 at 8:34 am

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 Libyan authorities have launched a “sterilisation campaign” for all sites where bodies of people who died as a result of floods that swept the country last week, have collected, Anadolu news agency reported.

At least 11,300 people have been killed and over 10,000 others are still missing after deadly floods in Libya’s eastern city of Derna, the United Nations said yesterday.

The municipal council in Derna, which was worst hit, announced that “the municipal environmental sanitation office has begun sterilising places where bodies were collected and [other] sites.”

Muhammad Al-Shalawi, an employee of the office, said the comprehensive sanitation campaign which covers all eastern municipalities came in response to repeated warnings of the possibility of an environmental catastrophe resulting from the decomposition of unrecovered bodies in the water, especially after floodwaters were mixed with sewage and drinking water.

Death toll from floods in Libya’s Derna jumps to 11,300: UN

He pointed out that corpses have decomposed in water which was mixed with drinking water sources, increasing the possibility of an environmental disaster.

According to Al-Shalawi, the municipal has warned citizens against using the drinking water sources in Derna and other cities, however, about 150 cases of poisoning due to this water have already been recorded.

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

Al-Sayeh said people in the affected areas and the displaced had been warned to stay away from well water and consume bottled water.

According to the UN office, more than 40,000 people have been displaced across Libya’s northeastern areas since the start of the devastating floods on September 10.