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Libyans plead for international help after flooding claims thousands of lives

Derna, Libya
Derna, Libya Copyright AP Photo/Muhammad J. Elalwany
Copyright AP Photo/Muhammad J. Elalwany
By Philip Andrew Churm with AP, AFP
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Libyans in the country's worst flood-hit city of Derna are pleading for international help as search teams combed through the devastation looking for bodies.


Residents of Libya's worst flood-hit city of Derna have been pleading for international help as search teams combed streets, wrecked buildings and even the sea as they looked for bodies.

The Mediterranean city of Derna has struggled to get help after Sunday night’s torrential rains washed away most access roads.

Over 5,000 people are known to have died. 

Aid workers who have managed to reach the city described devastation in its centre, with thousands still missing and tens of thousands left homeless.

Local people who have survived are overwhelmed by the enormity of the disaster. Bodies they say are everywhere, inside houses, in streets, at sea and many are pleading for international help.

Derna resident, Mohamed Salem, said: "This entire city has been annihilated. There are victims still under the rubble and some are in the sea. 

"There are bodies buried in mass graves because the cemeteries are full. Should I still ask foreigners and Europeans, 'Come, help us as we helped you?' You can see our situation for yourself."

Some international help is on the way.  Jordan has already dispatched a military cargo plane loaded with relief aid.

Rescue teams from Turkey have also arrived in eastern Libya and Algeria, France, Italy, Qatar and Tunisia also pledged to help. 

The UAE sent two planes carrying 150 tonnes of aid and the European Union said help from Germany, Romania and Finland had been dispatched.

A Kuwaiti flight took off Wednesday with 40 tonnes of supplies

The storm hit other areas in eastern Libya, including the towns of al Bayda and Sousa; where a vital medical centre was flooded and hundreds of families were displaced.

The United Nations has pledged $10 million (€9.3 million) to help support Libya's traumatised survivors.

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