| 1 October 2023, Sunday |

Libyan-UN discrepancy over number of hurricane victims

Discrepancy emerged over the death toll from devastating floods in eastern Libya. While the government count remained close to 3,000 people, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that at least 11,300 victims died in the hurricane, in addition to 10,100 missing persons a week after the disaster.

Tawfiq Al-Shukri, spokesman for the Libyan Red Crescent, denied on Sunday that the toll of the torrential rains that struck the city of Derna had reached 11,300, expressing his surprise that the association’s name was being included in such statistics.

“We did not announce these numbers,” he said, noting that such reports “are confusing, especially for the families of missing people.”

The Red Crescent also denied statements attributed to it about “the presence of 2,000 bodies in the Mediterranean Sea, swept away by torrents.”

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs had also said that 10,100 people were still missing in Derna, while 170 people had died elsewhere in eastern Libya.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday that nearly 4,000 people, who were killed in Libya’s floods, have been identified.

The WHO office in Libya quoted the organization’s representative, Dr. Ahmed Zouiten, as saying that local rescue teams were able, on Saturday evening, to find 450 survivors.

Meanwhile, the General Electricity Company announced, early Sunday, the restoration of power supply to part of the neighborhoods of the city of Derna, by connecting them to a generator temporarily.

The company pointed to completing maintenance work in the East Derna Distribution Department, and restoring electrical power to some homes located near Al-Jalaa and Al-Sahara School amid difficult circumstances.

Many areas in the affected cities suffer from a severe water shortage, in addition to a lack of relief aid and food, due to the focus on the city of Derna.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat