As storm Daniel stormed over the Mediterranean, slamming Turkey, Bulgaria, and Greece, authorities reported on Monday that catastrophic flooding in eastern Libya claimed up to 150 lives.
Residents in the devastated region of Libya took pictures of massive mudslides, demolished houses, and entire districts submerged in murky water.
During an interview with Libyan media, Oussama Hamad, the prime minister of the east-based government, said that "more than 2,000 are feared dead and thousands missing" in the city of Derna alone. However, neither medical sources nor emergency services have backed up such assertions.
Although Hamad's comments have received considerable attention in eastern Libyan media, the total death counts recorded from other locations are much lower.
"At least 150 people were killed as a result of flooding and torrential rains left by storm Daniel in Derna, the Jabal al-Akhdar region, and the suburbs of Al-Marj," claimed Mohamed Massoud, a spokesperson for Hamad's Benghazi-based government, earlier.
According to AFP, he added, "This is in addition to the massive material damage that struck public and private properties."
As military-backed rescuers work to free the trapped inhabitants, hundreds are still thought to be in hard-to-reach locations.
Massoud also said that Hamad, the chairman of the rescue committee, and other ministers had flown to Derna to examine the extent of the damage. In the meantime, east Libyan authorities reportedly lost communication with nine troops during rescue operations.
At least 27 people died as a result of storm Daniel, which experts say was "extreme in terms of the amount of water falling in a space of 24 hours" when it recently hit regions of Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria.
The UN mission in Libya said on Monday on X, formerly Twitter, that it was "closely following the emergency caused by severe weather conditions in the eastern region of the country".
It expressed its condolences over the deaths and said it was "ready to support efforts by local authorities and municipalities to respond to this emergency and provide urgent humanitarian assistance".