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Derna flood death toll could reach 20,000, city mayor says

The death toll in the Libyan city of Derna (east) due to the devastating floods recorded on Monday following the passage of storm ‘Daniel’ could increase to 20,000, according to the mayor of the town, Abdulmenam al Gaizi, in amid the search efforts for thousands of people missing after being swept away by the waters.

Al Gaizi explained that these calculations derive from the enormous damage recorded in several neighborhoods of Derna, which has suffered the virtual destruction of 25 percent of the city, before emphasizing that the interruption of communications is making search and rescue tasks difficult. rescue.

Likewise, he has stated in statements given to the Al Arabiya television network that the city’s dam, which burst shortly after another located upstream collapsed due to the pressure of the water, had not been maintained since 2008 due to the political crisis. in the African country.

The country is divided into two administrations after the House of Representatives ended the mandate of the prime minister of unity, Abdul Hamid Dbeibé, due to the postponement of the presidential elections in December 2021 and appointed Fazi Bashaga to the position – -later suspended from office and replaced by Osama Hamad–, a decision that was a blow to efforts to end the conflict and instability that has shaken Libya since the capture and execution of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Search and rescue work continues in the city and other affected towns in eastern Libya, where around 34,000 people have been displaced by the floods, including 30,000 in Derna, according to data from the International Organization for Migration ( IOM).

So far, the authorities based in the east of the country have put the death toll at at least 5,200, although sources from the unity government of Libya, based in the capital, Tripoli, have raised the death toll to 6,000.

In this sense, the Minister of Civil Aviation of the eastern authorities, Hichem Chiuat, stated on Wednesday that the waters on the coast of Derna “constantly bring dozens of bodies” of people swept into the Mediterranean Sea by the sudden flood.

Storm ‘Daniel’ has hit the east of the country – divided into two parallel governments since the beginning of 2022 due to a serious political crisis – after causing havoc last week in Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey, where close to about thirty deaths.

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