Breaking News: Debris and dead bodies clutter flood-hit Libyan port: Derna was a bustling port that welcomed fishing boats and ships carrying cargo and people. Until Libya’s catastrophic flood turned it into a dump full of debris, wrecked cars, and dead corpses. EnoughInfo.com
The 60-year-old tugboat captain Ali al-Mismari remembered the night of September 10th. When Storm Daniel’s intense rains pounded the city in eastern Libya, rupturing two dams and erasing entire districts.
Mismari first told AFP that he intended to remove his boat, the “Irasa,” from the harbour. That he did this in order to protect the crew and prevent damage to the craft.
However, he was unable to see the seawalls encircling the harbour and find a safe way out in the pandemonium of the storm and the quickly increasing water levels.
Breaking News: Debris and dead bodies clutter flood-hit Libyan port
“There was nothing (to do) but pray,” he said.
As daylight broke, the extent of the destruction was seen.
Mismari said that the flash flood had swept “huge trucks, automobile tyres, people, houses, entire palm trees… heaters, washing machines, refrigerators” into the harbour.
The official death toll from the catastrophe is over 3,300. But up to 10,000 people may still be missing, according to estimates from international relief organisations.
Port employees, fishermen, and bystanders have mostly left the seashore. Since the tsunami-sized water slammed Derna; just a few boats, the Irasa among them, remained.
Teams from outside and locally were called in to help clean the harbor’s bottom, including the tugs.
The things the divers recovered are now paved on the paths that round the harbour.
Heading the crisis management committee for the port authority, Captain Mohamed Chalibta, stated that the focus of the search was on “objects that had sunk in the port,” which included vehicles believed to still contain passengers.
An Emirati crew searched one area of the harbour using boats and jet skis.
Nevertheless, one of the divers reported that there was practically “zero visibility”. And that the water was dark brown and full of dirt from the flood.
Col. Ali Abdullah Al-Naqbi, who was in charge of the Emirati search mission, was telling his team what to do and stressing how important it was to be very careful. Scuba divers wearing safety gear jumped off their yellow boat one at a time.
Breaking Debris and dead bodies clutter flood-hit Libyan port
After a short time, one came out of the dirty water and said, “We tied a rope to a car.” There’s nothing to see. While that was going on, another diver found a second car.
Once they were back on their boat, other team members gave the divers facial washes and assisted in removing any debris that had been lodged in their hair.
A crane was brought in by the Emirati crew and used in conjunction with Libyan officials to remove one of the damaged wreckage from the water.
Mud, water, and what looked like human remains leaked out of the car while it was being removed.
When the car was lowered into the pier, men from Libya took over wearing white coats, gloves, and face masks to search the car for bodies. However, this time, they discovered none.
Authorities anticipate that clearing the port would be a lengthy procedure. Rescuers are also investigating the waters beyond the harbour; according to marine experts, the current may have transported numerous dead eastward.
The Story Goes On…
The chief of the Libyan forensic squad, Hafez Obeid, stated that bodies recovered in the sea are simpler to identify because of their ability to preserve due to salinity.
On the night of the accident, private fishing boats “were the first to rush to the rescue,” according to skipper Mismari of the Irasa.
Technician Taoufik Akrouch, 61, who was standing next to him, recollected that “the water level rose above the dock by about one and a half metres (five feet)”.
The crew started the engines and severed the mooring lines as the Irasa started to tilt uncontrollably.
They heard a scream for help at first light.
Two crew members reported that they discovered a survivor, a nude lady floating inside a refrigerator.
They said she asked them: “Where is my sister?”
An Egyptian survivor who was also saved by Mismari’s squad was unable to explain how he arrived at the harbour.
Mismari stated, “He had been sleeping and then found himself there.” It’s possible that he was unconscious.