• Around a quarter of Libya’s eastern city of Derna was wiped out by floods
  • More than 1,000 bodies have been recovered so far

TRIPOLI (Agencies): More than 2,000 are reported dead and thousands more are still missing in the eastern Libyan city of Derna since the region was first hit by Storm Daniel two days ago.

The head of the (internationally not recognised) Libyan government based in the east and appointed by the House of Representatives (parliament), Osama Hamad, said in press statements that whole residential neighbourhoods and some of their residents disappeared into the sea after being swept away by floods. These could be in the thousands. He described the situation as catastrophic and unprecedented in Libya.

Storm Daniel hit eastern Libya hard, with the worst hit cities being Derna, Al-Bayda and Al-Marj, and Sousse. Today the Tripoli based Libyan government said the internet service has been restored to Derna, but reports say there is still no mobile communications yet. This lack of communications has left an information and data vacuum hindering aid efforts and decision-making.

Yesterday, the Tripoli-based government announced three days of public mourning and flags at half-mast in all public and private entities.

During an Emergency Cabinet meeting yesterday, the Director of the National Centre of Meteorology, Ali Jahidar, said the rainfall level in the areas of eastern area of the Jabal Al-Akhdar (Green Mountains) exceeded 400 millimetres, a reading not recorded in about 40 years.

To put that in perspective, the eastern administrative capital Benghazi usually gets an average of 270 mm per year. Derna usually gets an average of 332 per year.

The state Afriqiyah airliner has offered to fly all frontline personnel free to eastern Libya.

The Tripoli-based Air Ambulance Service today announced the establishment of an air bridge from Tripoli to the eastern region to transport critical cases. The Tripoli government has also vowed to treat all those injured as a result of the storm either locally or abroad.

Meanwhile, aid convoys of heavy moving equipment, medical aid and personnel and other essentials, as well as at least one ship, continue to head east.

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