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Death toll in Libya flooding rises to 11,300 as rescuers continue to dig for survivors

An aerial review of the trail of devastation left by the flooding.  (REUTERS)
An aerial review of the trail of devastation left by the flooding. (REUTERS)

The death toll in the flooding that has devastated a coastal city in Libya has risen to at least 11,300 people, according to the UN.

Following the deadly storm Daniel which wreaked havoc in Derna and surrounding areas 10,100 are also still missing.

Emergency crews are still trawling through the town in north eastern Libya for survivors a week after strom hit on 10 December.

Buildings were destroyed and cars were washed away as unprecedented flood waters left a trail of carnage in their wake.

Bodies are regularly being found amid mangled cars, uprooted trees and debris from buildings at the Derna seafront.

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Residents and aid groups gathered the bodies of those who were washed out to sea when a year of rain fell in just a matter of hours caused two dams to burst and sent millions of cubic meters of floodwater through the centre of the city.

The United Nations’ Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released the lastest figures on those dead or missing on Sunday,

A statement said: “These figures are expected to rise as search-and-rescue crews work tirelessly to find survivors.”

Libyan state media said more than 890 buildings had been destroyed by floodwater while conditions for rescuers remain treacherous despite the floodwaters having receded.

The World Health Organization said 32 tons of health aid, enough to reach almost 250,000 people, had arrived in the country on Saturday. The supplies included essential medicines, trauma and emergency supplies, and medical equipment.

The aid package also includes body bags for safe and dignified burials of the deceased amid fears of the authorities rushing to bury people in mass graves.

Dr Ahmed Zouiten, a WHO official, said: “This is a disaster of epic proportions.”

The National Centre for Disease Control reported that at least 55 children were poisoned after drinking polluted water in Derna.

An investigation has been launched into claims that the crumbling infrastructure in the area were partly to blame for the high death toll.