Libya Floods Leave Many Bodies Unrecognizable

  • Publish date: Monday، 18 September 2023
Libya Floods Leave Many Bodies Unrecognizable

A doctor wearing a mask lean into a black plastic body bag and gently moves the legs of the man inside. He explains that the first step in determining a person's identity is to determine their age, sex, and height.

"He's in the putrefaction stage now, because of the water."

In the parking lot of a hospital in the eastern Libyan city of Derna, workers are carefully examining and recording the final details of one of the many victims of the recent floods.

This is now one of the most important jobs in Derna, but it is also one of the most distressing. The man's body is unrecognizable after spending a week in the sea. It was washed ashore that morning.

Experienced hands gently examine the body for identifying marks and take a DNA sample. This is important in case there is still a family alive who can claim him.

The internationally recognized government of Libya says that more than a quarter of the buildings in Derna were damaged or destroyed by the catastrophic flood last week.

According to the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, more than 10,000 people are still officially missing after the recent floods in Libya. The Red Crescent has been issuing its own numbers, which are slightly different. The UN says that the death toll so far stands at around 11,300, but the final total is still unclear. What is certain is that this catastrophe is on a massive scale.

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