Members of Greek Rescue Team Killed in Libya

Greece along with other countries sent rescue teams to Libya following the deadly floods at Derna. Credit: AMNA

Four members of a Greek rescue team en route to the flood-ravaged city of Derna, Libya were killed in a road accident on Sunday, the health minister for the Libyan eastern government said.

A bus carrying 19 Greek rescue workers collided with a vehicle carrying five Libyan nationals on the road between the cities of Benghazi and Derna, health minister Othman Abduljaleel said at a news conference. Three Libyans in the oncoming vehicle were also killed.

Seven of the surviving Greek rescue workers were in critical condition, the minister said.

«Τροχαίο ατύχημα» στη #Λιβύη.

— Panagiotis G. Pavlos (@PGPavlos) September 17, 2023

In a parallel statement, the Greek Foreign Ministry acknowledged the crash but said only three of its nationals had died while two others were missing.

Greece’s General National Defense Staff (GEETHA) released the following statement:

“We announce that three members of the Greek humanitarian mission to Libya lost their lives and two are missing. An updated statement will follow.”

An earlier GEETHA statement had said that there were only slight injuries.

The Foreign Ministry had released the following statement before the fatalities were announced:

“The Greek mission that went to provide humanitarian aid in Libya had a car accident today during its road trip to the city of Derna.

“In coordination with the Ministry of National Defense, the UN and the European Union, the Consulate General of Greece in Benghazi is on hand to provide assistance to the mission and assist in its repatriation.”

Rescue workers flocked to Libya

Rescue workers from Greece, Turkey, Egypt and other countries have flocked to Derna to offer help.

Some 11,300 people died when two dams collapsed during Mediterranean storm Daniel last week sending a wall of water gushing through the city, according to the Red Crescent aid group. A further 10,000 people are missing, and presumed dead.

The disaster has brought some rare unity to oil-rich Libya, which has been divided between rival governments in the country’s east and west that are backed by various militia forces and international patrons, Associated Press (AP) reports.

Residents from the nearby cities of Benghazi and Tobruk have offered to put up the displaced, while volunteers have helped hunt for survivors buried beneath the rubble.

But the opposing governments have struggled to respond to the crisis. Their recovery efforts have been hampered by confusion, difficulty getting aid to the hardest-hit areas, and the destruction of Derna’s infrastructure, including several bridges, AP says.

More than 3,283 bodies were buried as of Sunday, Abduljaleel said, many in mass graves outside Derna, while others were transferred to nearby towns and cities.

This is a developing story

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