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Rescue Efforts Continue in Libya’s Inundated Derna as Bodies Line the Ground Outside Main Hospital

HeadlineSep 13, 2023

In Libya, rescue efforts continue in the eastern city of Derna following the catastrophic flooding brought about by Storm Daniel’s torrential rains, which caused two dams to burst. An estimated 6,000 people have died, though that number is expected to go up. Bodies have been buried in mass graves. In front of Derna’s hospital, people are searching for their loved ones amid the dead bodies lined up on the ground. This is the hospital’s manager, Mohamad al-Qabisi.

Dr. Mohamad al-Qabisi: “The number of dead in this particular section is 1,700 deaths so far. We counted them as they were lying in the hallways. Whoever is identified is then buried. There are some who have not been identified, so we started photographing them and assigning numbers to them, then burying them, as well. On the other side, they buried 500 people. Things are very bad. The hospital is dilapidated.”

Derna’s mayor said the city’s dams have not been maintained since 2002. Much of Libya’s infrastructure has crumbled during the years-long war and political instability — fueled by U.S. and foreign intervention — that has gripped the nation. After headlines, we’ll speak with a climate activist in Tripoli.

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