Libyan flood survivors say they climbed across rooftops and clung onto furniture in a home submerged in water to avoid drowning

collapsed buildings and rubble fill streets of Derna
Collapsed buildings and rubble in Derna, Libya.-/AFP via Getty Images
  • At least 2,300 people have died and 10,000 are missing after flooding devastated Libya this week.

  • One survivor told Reuters she climbed across rooftops just before her building collapsed.

  • Another survivor said she held onto furniture as water filled her apartment nearly to the ceiling.

As Storm Daniel pummeled the Mediterranean this week, massive floods devastated Libya, killing thousands and leaving even more missing.

Some residents who managed to survive described climbing across rooftops and clinging to furniture in a home to avoid drowning in the floods.

The hardest-hit area is the northeastern town of Derna, where the torrential downpour flooded a river and burst open two dams, rapidly flooding the streets and wiping out entire neighborhoods, the AP reported. Officials said at least 2,300 have died in Derna alone, with the death toll expected to rise, according to CBS News. At least 10,000 people are still missing, CNN reported.

"At first, we just thought it was heavy rain, but at midnight, we heard a huge explosion, and it was the dam bursting," one survivor, 39-year-old Raja Sassi, told Reuters. Sassi survived with his wife and daughter but told Reuters everyone else in his family is dead.

Another Derna resident, 41-year-old Safia Mustafa, told Reuters she escaped with her two sons by climbing to their building's roof before it collapsed, and then going from rooftop to rooftop through the city blocks.

Saliha Abu Bakr, a 46-year-old Derna survivor, told Reuters she clung on to a piece of furniture as water filled her third-floor apartment nearly to the ceiling.

Bakr said as soon as the floodwaters retreated, she and her two sisters fled the building just before it collapsed, but their mother didn't make it, according to Reuters.

"I can swim, but when I tried to rescue my family, I couldn't do anything," Bakr told Reuters.

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