About 10% of Libya flood deaths were migrants

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Derna, the area hit hardest by the flood, was home to about 10,000 migrants
Derna, the area hit hardest by the flood, was home to about 10,000 migrants PHOTO: REUTERS

Migrants make up about 10% of those known to have died when floods hit Libya a week ago, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has told BBC News.

Libya is hugely popular with migrants. According to data from the IOM, which is a United Nations body, more than 706,000 migrants lived in the North African country in February 2023.

Some live and work in Libya long-term, while others use it as a transit point in bids to reach Europe.

Four-hundred migrants are registered as having died in the floods, the IOM understands, although it says that this death toll is likely to change as bodies continue to be recovered.

The IOM and World Health Organization have the wider confirmed death toll at 3,900. However, officials using different methodologies have given widely varying statistics, for example, the mayor of Libyan city Derna estimates more than 20,000 people died.

Derna was, by far, hit hardest by the floods. Two dams burst amid heavy rains and swathes of the city were submerged in water.

Around 10,000 migrants lived in the port city before the flood, and the IOM “expects the death toll of migrants to be particularly high, considering they were settled in very low-lying areas,” IOM director of emergencies, Federico Soda, said.

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