IP - Fears are growing that disease could grip flood-stricken Derna as sanitation and water treatment services collapse across Libya.

Iran PressAfrica: Aid agencies and rescue workers in flood-stricken Derna say that mass graves and hundreds of bodies in the city and coastal areas could contaminate water supplies.

Local authorities said at least 150 people were taken ill over the weekend after drinking unsafe water.

The torrent of mud and rock that crashed through Wadi Derna carried many victims out to sea, but now many are washing back to shore.

The UN has warned that a quarter of the city's population could have been killed or injured.

The estimate takes into account about 10,000 people who are still missing. The UN says at least 40,000 people have been made homeless.

Libya's Tripoli-based administration said on Sunday that around 900 buildings had been completely destroyed while a further 500 buildings had been severely damaged.

The UN’s Libya envoy, Abdoulaye Bathily, returned from a trip to Derna on Sunday. He said the disaster overwhelmed the city and called for a greater international response.

Bathily said, "This crisis is beyond Libya’s capacity to manage,it goes beyond politics and borders."

There is speculation that local authorities could close Derna to stop the spread of waterborne disease.

Islamic Relief said the number could soon swell to thousands because of a lack of clean water.

Aid agencies have urged people to avoid burials in mass graves, as well as mass cremations, saying such procedures could accelerate the spread of illness.

Rescue and recovery workers said hundreds of bodies are still being found on beaches and throughout the city.

The situation in many outlying towns and villages is still becoming clear because roads and bridges have been destroyed.

The stench of death in Derna was so strong that rescuers were recovering bodies without the help of sniffer dogs or search-and-rescue technology after learning to distinguish the smell from rotting rubbish.


Read More: