Libya flood: more bodies wash ashore, international aid arrivestext_fields
Tripoli: Libya has received shipments of international aid to aid thousands of people affected by deadly flash floods, even as hopes of finding more survivors dwindle.
Deadly flash floods struck the port city of Derna on Sunday, submerging the city after two dams burst due to torrential rains from a hurricane-strength storm. Conflicting reports on the death toll have emerged, with the health minister of the eastern-based administration, Othman Abdeljalil, reporting 3,166 lives lost.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced the arrival of 29 tonnes of aid in the eastern city of Benghazi, stating that "the bodies of 3,958 people have been recovered and identified," with an additional 9,000 still missing.
Ahmed Zouiten, the WHO's Libya representative, described the disaster as "of epic proportions."
A beach littered with dead bodies was discovered by a rescue crew from Malta's Civil Protection Department.
Aid from various countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and France, has arrived in Libya to assist with relief efforts.
The United Nations has launched an appeal for over $71 million to aid those affected by the floods.
The flash floods resulted from a hurricane-strength storm compounded by poor infrastructure in Libya, a country that has faced turmoil since the NATO-backed uprising in 2011 that led to the downfall and death of Muammar Gaddafi.
While concerns about water-borne diseases and shortages of food, shelter, and medicine have arisen, the Red Cross and the WHO have emphasised that the bodies of disaster victims rarely pose a health threat.
The prosecutor general of Libya, Al-Seddik al-Sur, revealed that the two dams responsible for the catastrophe had been cracked since 1998. Repairs initiated by a Turkish company in 2010 were suspended after a few months due to the 2011 revolution, and they were never resumed.
The disaster has prompted displays of solidarity, with volunteers in Tripoli gathering aid for flood victims in the east.
Climate experts have linked the catastrophe to the impacts of a warming planet combined with Libya's deteriorating infrastructure.
Experts have uncovered a web of dysfunction, incompetence, carelessness, neglect, and corruption behind the catastrophe, according to Wolfram Lacher, a Libya specialist at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.