'Bodies are everywhere': More than 5,300 dead and tens of thousands left homeless in Libyan floods

ITV News International Affairs Editor Rageh Omaar reports on the devastation in Libya with over 5,000 dead

More than 5,000 people are now confirmed to have died in eastern Libya and tens of thousands displaced after severe flooding.

A spokesman for Libya's eastern administration said more than 5,300 bodies have been recovered in the city of Derna - which has been left in ruins by the floods.

The final death toll is expected to reach into the tens of thousands.

According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), at least 30,000 people have been made homeless.

Mediterranean Storm Daniel brought rain so torrential that the flooding it triggered caused two upstream dams to burst near Derna. The city is now almost inaccessible although some aid workers have managed to reach the area.

"Bodies are everywhere, inside houses, in the streets, at sea. Wherever you go, you find dead men, women, and children," Emad al-Falah, an aid worker from Benghazi, said.

Residents from the city said they heard loud explosions when the dams collapsed, sending a torrent of rushing water through Derna.

Entire residential bocks in the city have been washed away along the Wadi Derna - a main river that flows through Derna's centre.

Why has the flooding in Libya been so catastrophic? ITV News' Yasmin Bodalbhai explains

Of the seven roads leading to the city, only two are now accessible from its southern edge, while a number of bridges linking parts of Derna's east to its west have been destroyed.

"The city of Derna was submerged by waves seven metres high that destroyed everything in their path," Yann Fridez, head of the delegation of the International Committee for The Red Cross in Libya, told France24.

Morgues have been overwhelmed by the number of dead that have so far been recovered, with hundreds moved to nearby towns.

Derna is about 560 miles east of Libya's capital, Tripoli, and is controlled by the forces of powerful military commander Khalifa Hifter. He is allied with the east Libya government.

Derna has been deemed almost inaccessible for aid workers to reach. Credit: AP

Following more than a decade of chaos, Libya remains divided between two rival administrations: one in the east and one in the west, each backed by different militias and foreign governments.

Northeast Libya is one of the country's most fertile regions and incurs some of the highest average annual rainfalls, according to the World Bank.

Aid has been sent to the affected areas by both regional governments in Libya, while Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates are among the countries to have pledged international assistance.

Joe Biden has said the United States is sending emergency funds to relief organisations and coordinating with the Libyan authorities and the United Nations (UN) to provide additional support.

The King has on Wednesday sent a message of condolence to the Chairman of the Libyan Presidential Council, Mohamed al-Menfi.

"Your Excellency," it reads.

"My wife and I are so desperately saddened by the devastating impact and loss of life caused by Storm Daniel and the subsequent floods.

"We mourn with all those who have lost their loved ones, and continue to pray for everyone whose lives and livelihoods have been affected by the horrific floods.

"I admire greatly all those who are engaged tirelessly in the rescue efforts in such dire conditions, and praise their selfless bravery.

"I know that my Government stands ready to support your needs."

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