The death count from freak floods in eastern Libya is expected to soar dramatically, with 10,000 people reported missing, the Red Cross warned on Tuesday.
Officials in Libya have said at least 150 people were killed in the flooding in Libya after storm Daniel swept the Mediterranean, lashing Turkey, Bulgaria and Greece.
But Tamer Ramadan of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said the actual toll was likely many times higher.
“Our teams on the ground are still doing their assessment, (but) from what we see and from the news coming to us, the death count is huge,” he told reporters in Geneva via video link from Tunis.
“It might reach to the thousands.”
“We don’t have a definite number right now,” he said, stressing though that the organisation had independent sources saying “the number of missing people is hitting 10,000 persons so far.”
Speaking on the Libyan network Almasar, Oussama Hamad, Prime Minister of the east-based government, has reported “more than 2,000 dead and thousands missing” in the city of Derna alone, but no medical sources or emergency services have confirmed such figures.
But Ramadan said that judging from the figures he was seeing, “it’s very likely that the number declared (by the eastern official) could be close to the correct number”.
He said he hoped the IFRC would be able to provide a more precise toll of the disaster later Tuesday.
“The humanitarian needs are much more beyond the abilities of the Libyan Red Crescent and even the abilities of the government,” Ramadan said.
“That’s why the government in the east has issued an international appeal for support,” he said, adding that IFRC was also preparing to launch an emergency appeal for funds towards the response.
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