The United Nations (UN) has amended the previous death toll from Libya floods, stating that at least 3,958 people have died instead of 11,300 as was earlier reported by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
According to the revised report updated on September 17, morning from the OCHA, the UN has now pegged the toll at 3,958, citing the World Health Organisation (WHO).
As per the updated report, over 9000 people are still missing.
However, the OCHA, in its previous report, said at least 11,300 people died in Derna due to devastating flooding, citing the Libyan Red Crescent figures for Septmber 16’s report.
Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, “We’re going with figures just verified by WHO.”
However, earlier, the Libyan Red Crescent Society told media, that it never released the high death figure tolls to the UN from the flooding in Derna.
On why the UN cited the death toll incorrectly, Haq said, “In a lot of different tragedies we end up revising our numbers. So that’s just what’s happening here.”
He added, “Standard procedure is we work with different parties trying to make sure our numbers are cross-checked. Whenever we do these revisions it’s because our numbers are being cross-checked.”
The deputy spokesperson said the death toll figures are fluid and “can go upward or downward.”
Moreover, on Derna’s seafront, where the aftermath of the disaster is evident, rescue teams were working tirelessly to clear the way for further relief efforts. A helicopter scanned the sea for bodies, and diggers strove to remove obstacles obstructing rescue operations.
In Derna, which has an estimated population of at least 120,000, entire districts were swept away or buried in brown mud after two dams south of the city broke, releasing torrents of floodwater down a usually dry riverbed.
The UN’s humanitarian affairs office said it had initiated an appeal for USD 71 million to aid those affected by the disaster. The World Health Organization has also taken action, flying in emergency aid to reach nearly 2,50,000 people in eastern Libya, providing essential medicines, surgery supplies, and body bags.
Saudi Arabia and Russia have contributed aid flights, including mobile hospitals, while an Italian naval ship arrived in Derna with supplies such as tents, blankets, water pumps, and tractors.
(with inputs from ANI)