Emergency workers uncovered hundreds of bodies as they dug through the wreckage of Libya’s eastern city of Derna on Tuesday, and 10,000 people were reported still missing after floodwaters broke through dams and smashed through the city, washing away entire neighborhoods.
An estimated 10,000 people remain unaccounted for after torrential rains triggered flash flooding in Libya.
Authorities say at least 2,000 people have died but that figure is likely to rise in the coming days.
The worst affected area is the city of Derna where two dams burst.
The Red Crescent said its workers are struggling to cope with the scale of the disaster.
Red Crescent envoy, Tamer Ramadan, said: “The challenges are ranging between access to basic health facilities or health services, shelter and shelter management, food and food items, first aid, social support and restoring family links and last but not least, management of the dead bodies.”
The extreme flooding followed heavy downpours brought by Storm Daniel to the east of the country.
Across the region towns and villages were inundated and authorities say entire neighbourhoods have been washed away.
Speaking on Libyan network Almasar, Oussama Hamad, prime minister of the east-based government, reported “more than 2,000 dead and thousands missing” in the city of Derna alone, but the figures have not been officially confirmed.
The National Petroleum Company, which has its main oilfields and terminals in eastern Libya, declared “a state of maximum alert” and suspended flights between production sites where activity was drastically reduced.
The Red Crescent has appealed for international assistance and says the devastation is on a similar level to the earthquake in neighbouring Morocco.
Weather forecasters predicted more heavy rain there in the coming days.