The devastating flooding in Libya wreaked havoc on the city of Derna on the Mediterranean coast and other places in the northern African nation, destroying buildings, ripping up roads and crashing cars against anything in its way.
A storm system that lashed three countries last week forced dams in Libya to collapse, sending unprecedented flash floods down a river valley.
Thousands of people died in the disaster, which an official for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies compared to the powerful earthquake that struck Morocco late last week.
An Interior Ministry spokesman said Tuesday the death toll has exceeded 5,300 people killed in the city of Derna alone from the flooding unleashed by Mediterranean Storm Daniel.
The death toll includes three Red Crescent volunteers who were killed while helping families displaced by the flooding, the IFRC’s chief posted to social media.
One man told the Reuters news agency 30 of his relatives were killed in the disaster.
“Most people were sleeping. Nobody was ready,” Mostafa Salem told the outlet.
Eastern Libya’s minister of civil aviation, Hichem Abu Chkiouat, told Reuters, “Bodies are lying everywhere — in the sea, in the valleys, under the buildings.”
The region’s health minister, Othman Abduljaleel, told the Associated Press some victims may have been swept out to sea.
“We were stunned by the amount of destruction … the tragedy is very significant, and beyond the capacity of Derna and the government,” Abduljaleel said.