The disaster in Derna, Libya has escalated beyond description as it has become more than just a “ghost town,” but rather a “massive mass grave” due to tons of mudslides and accumulated debris caused by the destructive Hurricane “Daniel.“
These vast mudslides and debris, spread over vast distances covering almost half of the city, have concealed thousands of missing bodies that have yet to be found, amidst the deteriorating and chaotic rescue efforts in the country.
Residents say that hundreds of bodies still lie buried under the heaps of mudslides and debris, and families cannot locate their deceased loved ones, let alone those who are missing.
Abdulaziz Bousmaia, a 29-year-old resident of the “Sheha” neighborhood who survived the floods, said, “The waters carried mud, trees, and iron debris, and they traveled kilometers before inundating the city center and sweeping away or burying everything in their path.”
He added with sorrow, “I lost friends and relatives, some of whom were buried in the mud, and others were carried away by the waters to the sea,” estimating the death toll at about 10% of the city’s population, according to “Agence France-Presse.”
Bousmaia believes that the Libyan authorities did not take the necessary measures to address the disaster but merely issued instructions to residents to stay in their homes in anticipation of Hurricane Daniel, which had hit Turkey, Bulgaria, and Greece before reaching Libya on Sunday.
The number of body bags distributed in the city reveals the scale of the tragedy. with the International Committee of the Red Cross alone reporting securing 6,000 of them.
Rescuers and. volunteers continue to work on Friday to search for thousands of missing individuals in Derna after the massive floods that struck the city.
Eyewitnesses say that the city center of Derna now resembles a flatland .after the waters uprooted trees and swept away buildings and bridges.
Authorities fear that the human toll could be devastating amid massive losses in the city. which had a population of nearly 100,000 before the disaster.