At least 20% of eastern city dead or missing – after government ‘ignored warnings’
Scientists warned the Libyan government over flash floods but they refused to evacuate civilians, according to Sky News Africa correspondent Yousra Elbagir.
Instead, at least 20% of Derna’s population is now dead or missing.
Generational homes in the “incredibly tight-knit community”, where dozens of family members lived, have been destroyed, killing those insides, said Elbagir.
“Diggers are looking for them [missing people], but there just aren’t enough diggers.
“We’ve only seen three or four in this valley. But this is a massive, massive disaster.”
She continued: “It didn’t come without warning – these dams have not been maintained in the last 20 years.
“They were built in the 70s and hydrologists have shown deep concern for their state, engineers have shown deep concern for their structure.”
Meteorological surveys warned the government of the risk of flash floods, she said.
“There were definitely warnings from scientists saying we need to look at the risk of floods but the government… refused to evacuate civilians.”
UK increases aid to Libya
The UK has increased its aid package to Libya and Morocco to £10m, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has said.
It is unclear exactly how much of this aid will be sent to Libya. The department said it was adding to the £1m in Libyan aid announced on Wednesday – but did not specify by how much.
The money will be used to provide emergency shelter, portable solar lanterns and water filters, said the FCDO.
A specialist emergency medical team led by health and sanitation experts will also be sent to provide rapid medical assessments in disaster-affected areas.
For context: Thousands of people died after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Morocco on 8 September.