20230912 libya flooding
People stand in a damaged road as a powerful storm and heavy rainfall flooded hit Shahhat city, Libya, Image Credit: Reuters

TUNIS: More than 5,300 bodies have been counted in the Libyan city of Derna and the toll is expected to increase significantly and may even double, a minister in the regional administration said on Wednesday, after the city was hit by catastrophic floods.

The "sea is constantly dumping dozens of bodies", Hichem Abu Chkiouat, minister of civil aviation in the administration that runs eastern Libya, told Reuters, adding that reconstruction would cost billions of dollars.

Mediterranean storm Daniel caused deadly flooding in many eastern towns, but the worst-hit was Derna . As the storm pounded the coast Sunday night, Derna residents said they heard loud explosions when the dams outside the city collapsed.

Floodwaters washed down Wadi Derna, a river running from the mountains through the city and into the sea.