DERNA: Survivors of a flood that swept away the centre of a Libyan city picked through the ruins on Thursday (Sep 14) in search of loved ones from among thousands of dead and missing, while authorities feared an outbreak of disease from rotting bodies.
A torrent unleashed by a powerful storm burst dams on Sunday night and hurtled down a seasonal riverbed that bisects the city, washing multi-storey buildings into the sea with sleeping families inside. Thousands of people are confirmed dead and thousands more missing, with the mayor saying the toll could reach 20,000.
Usama Al Husadi, a 52-year-old driver, had been searching for his wife and five children since the disaster.
“I went by foot searching for them…I went to all hospitals and schools but no luck,” he told Reuters, weeping with his head in his hands.
Husadi, who had been working the night of the storm, dialled his wife’s phone number once again. It was switched off.
“We lost at least 50 members from my father’s family, between missing and dead,” he said.