International humanitarian aid is beginning to reach Libya, approximately one week after the North African country was hit by a devastating flood.

Authorities originally believed the flood, caused by the Mediterranean storm Daniel, had claimed the lives of more than 2,000 people in the coastal city of Derna in the eastern part of Libya.

However, following an updated assessment of the lethal disaster, authorities now estimate that some 11,000 people may have died in the Derna floods.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) believes that the true number of fatalities will likely rise in the near future, as more than 10,000 people are still classified as missing.

“These figures are expected to rise in the coming days and weeks as search-and-rescue crews work tirelessly to find survivors,” according to an OCHA assessment, based on figures reportedly provided by the Libyan Red Crescent.

However, the Libyan Red Crescent later denied it had provided the United Nations with these numbers.

“We are shocked to see our name mixed up with these figures,” stated Libyan Red Crescent Spokesperson Tawfik Shoukri who stressed that “they add to the confusion and distress of the families of the missing”. While the exact number of fatalities may never be fully established, the devastation is beyond any doubt.

Some 30,000 Derna residents, or about one-third of the city’s total population, are currently believed to be homeless as a result of the floods.

Much of the city lacks basic essentials, such as food and clean drinking water.

UN aid agencies warn that the deteriorating situation in Derna could potentially lead to widespread malnutrition, diarrhea, dehydration and cholera.

“In this city, every single family has been affected,” according to a local resident, Mohammad al-Dawali.

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