Days after flooding from a tropical storm devastated eastern Libya , hundreds of bodies began to wash up on beaches in the region, where more than 11,000 people died as a result of the rain.
Another around 30,000 remain missing .
According to the Red Crescent – as the NGO Red Cross is called in countries with an Islamic majority – the bodies are being dragged by the tide of water and have started to appear on the sand of beaches in the city of Derna, the most affected.
“In just two hours, one of my colleagues counted more than 200 bodies on the beach near Derna,” said Bilal Sablouh, Red Cross regional forensics manager for Africa. “Bodies are strewn across the streets, being washed ashore and buried under collapsed buildings and rubble.”
Also according to the Red Crescent, which leads most of the search operations, the total number of deaths exceeded 11,300. Another 10,000 people remain missing in the city of Derna alone, the main one affected after the amount of rain destroyed two dams and flooded the central region of the municipality.
More than a thousand people were buried in mass graves in the city. The attitude caused members of the World Health Organization (WHO) to call for better managed burials.
“We ask authorities in communities affected by the tragedy not to rush into mass burials or cremations ,” said Dr. Kazunobu Kojima, doctor responsible for biosafety and biosecurity at the WHO Health Emergencies Program.
The statement called for demarcated and documented individual graves, saying hasty burials could lead to mental anguish for families, as well as social and legal problems.
The bodies of victims of trauma caused by natural disasters “almost never” posed a health threat , he said, unless they were in or near freshwater sources, since corpses can leak feces.