At least 2,000 people have died after Storm Daniel flooded much of Libya’s northeast, and a further 10,000 are believed missing.
The city of Derna has been most affected, with as many as 6,000 people being reported missing, Othman Abduljalil, health minister in Libya’s eastern administration, told Libya’s Almasar TV.
Derna lies 900 km east of Tripoli and 300 km east of Benghazi, with a population of over 100,000. The storm washed away entire buildings and has officially been declared a “disaster zone.”
Local emergency responders have been digging through the rubble in an effort to retrieve bodies believed to be trapped or washed out to sea.
“We were stunned by the amount of destruction … the tragedy is very significant, and beyond the capacity of Derna and the government,” Abduljaleel told The Associated Press on the phone from Derna.
“We can confirm from our independent sources of information that the number of missing people is hitting 10,000 so far,” Tamer Ramadan, head of a delegation of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), told reporters in Geneva via video link from Tunisia.
On Tuesday morning, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi declared a three-day mourning period in the country in solidarity with the victims of natural disasters in Morocco and Libya. At least 2,862 died from the earthquake last week and over 2,500 were injured.
“I offer my sincere condolences to the brothers in Libya who were victims of the storm that struck the country. I confirm that the government and people of Egypt stand in solidarity with our brothers during this hard time. I wish the injured a speedy recovery and hope this crisis will pass quickly with your unity,” el-Sisi wrote in a statement shared on Facebook.