Maltese Rescue team on its way to Libya, at least 5,200 dead
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The Maltese government will be sending a team from the civil protection department and the armed forces to Libya after Storm Daniel caused unprecedented flooding, leaving at least 5,200 dead only in Derna and a further 5,000 people are missing and 7,000 injured. Malta is to send a contingent of 73 officials to assist in the rescue operations; 12 officers from the Armed Forces including a medical team and 31 members of the Civil Protection Department. They will be joined by another 30 soldiers on board the P61, which already left Malta. Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri said this was the third time in a few months that Malta was offering assistance to other countries going through a difficult time. Meanwhile, the spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior in the government appointed by the House of Representatives, Tariq Al-Kharaz, said that the death toll of Storm Daniel, which struck the eastern region of the country, reached 5,200 people in Derna alone, adding that 1,300 bodies out of that number were buried after the families had identified them, while there were entire families who died. Al-Kharaz said the number of bodies that had not been identified was massive and could not be buried at present because of the lack of resources and support, expecting the death toll from the floods in Derna to rise to more than 10,000 people. He also said there were still many unrecovered bodies, adding that specialized rescue teams from Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt were working to recover the bodies that had been swept into the sea by the torrents. In the meantime, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the Commander-in-Chief of the Libyan National Army (LNA) issued instructions to provide urgent medical supplies, and offer shelter to those affected by storm Daniel.
Haftar directed the allocation of all necessary medical and military resources to support those affected, and facilitate the transportation of the wounded to hospitals. He called on the eastern-based government to form committees for damage assessment and losses, as well as to initiate immediate road repairs. expressed his condolences to the families of the victims, and highlighted that this “rare climatic catastrophe in Libyàs history has resulted in thousands of deaths, thousands more injured, and ongoing search efforts for the missing”. Storm Daniel swept through several areas in eastern Libya on Sunday, especially the cities of Derna, Benghazi, and Al-Bayda, in addition to Sousse and Al-Marj, leaving thousands dead and missing, and causing major infrastructure damage. On Monday, the Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah declared all the municipalities that were hit by Storm Daniel and ensuing floods in the east of the country as disaster areas. He also declared, during an emergency Cabinet session, mourning for a period of 3 days, directing all “officials and ministers without exception to assess the conditions in the eastern region”.
– Photo: Department of Information Malta –