Thousands feared dead swept by floodwaters into the Med

Thousands feared dead swept by floodwaters into the Med

Cars and rubble sit in a street in Derna, Libya, after water receded. Credit: Lybian government/AP

At least 46 people were reported dead in the eastern town of Bayda, Abdel-Rahim Mazek, head of the town’s main medical centre said. Another seven people were reported dead in the coastal town of Susa in northeastern Libya, according to the Ambulance and Emergency Authority. Seven others were reported dead in the towns of Shahatt and Omar al-Mokhtar, said Ossama Abduljaleel, health minister. One person was reported dead Sunday in the town of Marj.

The Libyan Red Crescent said three of its workers had died while helping families in Derna. Earlier, the group said it lost contact with one of its workers as he attempted to help a stuck family in Bayda. Dozens of others were reported missing, and authorities fear they could have died in the floods that destroyed homes and other properties in several towns in eastern Libya, according to local media.

Cars are piled on the sea bank in Derna, Libya, after being carried by floodwaters.

Cars are piled on the sea bank in Derna, Libya, after being carried by floodwaters.Credit: Libyan government/AP

In Derna, local media said the situation was catastrophic with no electricity or communications.

Essam Abu Zeriba, the interior minister of the east Libya government, said more than 5000 people were expected to be missing in Derna. He said many of the victims were swept away towards the Mediterranean.

“The situation is tragic,” he declared in a telephone interview on the Saudi-owned satellite news channel Al-Arabiya. He urged local and international agencies to rush to help the city.


Georgette Gagnon, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Libya, said early reports showed that dozens of villages and towns were “severely affected … with widespread flooding, damage to infrastructure, and loss of life”.

”I am deeply saddened by the severe impact of [storm] Daniel on the country … I call on all local, national, and international partners to join hands to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the people in eastern Libya,” she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

In a post on X, the US Embassy in Libya said it was in contact with both the UN and Libyan authorities and was determining how to deliver aid to the most affected areas.

Over the weekend, Libyans shared footage on social media showing flooded houses and roads in many areas across the east of the country. They pleaded for help as floods besieged people inside their homes and in their vehicles.

Ossama declared Derna a disaster zone after heavy rainfall and floods destroyed much of the city which is located in the delta of the small Wadi Derna on the east coast. He also announced three days of mourning and ordered flags across the country to be lowered to half-mast.

Controlling eastern and western Libya, Commander Khalifa Hifter deployed troops to help residents in Benghazi and other eastern towns. Ahmed al-Mosmari, a spokesperson for Hifter’s forces, said they lost contact with five troops who were helping besieged families in Bayda.


Foreign governments sent messages of support. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the president of the United Arab Emirates, said his country would send humanitarian assistance and search-and-rescue teams to eastern Libya, according to the UAE’s state-run WAM news agency.

Turkey, which supports the country’s Tripoli-based government in the west, also expressed condolences, along with neighbouring Algeria.

Storm Daniel was expected to move on to west Egypt, and the country’s meteorological authorities warned about possible rain and bad weather.