DERNA, Libya: Residents of Derna in eastern Libya were counting their losses from a flood that devastated swathes of the coastal city as the search for the missing continued on Saturday (Sep 16) for a sixth day and more bodies were pulled from the sea.
Central Street, once a focus of economic activity in Derna lined with shops, was largely deserted, the silence broken only by the sound of the wind whistling past wrecked buildings as a few people sat disconsolate in the road, sipping coffee and surveying the damage.
“The first thing I’m afraid of is that this will take a long time,” said 44-year-old teacher Tarek Faheem al-Hasadi, whose wife and five young grandchildren were killed in the flood. He and his son survived by climbing onto the roof.
“This needs persistence and I’m afraid that the support that is coming is temporary,” he said between tears, standing guard in front his ruined home, but adding that he was determined not to leave the area.
A three-storey building standing opposite had been swept 60m down the road by the floodwaters, Hasadi said.
At Derna’s seafront, where a wrecked car could be seen perched on top of concrete storm breakers and driftwood was strewn across muddy pools, diggers worked to clear the path for rescue teams and a helicopter scanned the sea for bodies.
Entire districts of Derna, one of eastern Libya’s major cities, were swept away or buried in brown mud after two dams south of the city broke on Sunday night unleashing torrents of floodwater down a usually dry riverbed.
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