Italy began flying firefighting personnel and flooding experts to Libya Wednesday and also sent a ship to provide medical and logistical support following devastating floods, the defence ministry said.
Pope Francis, meanwhile, used his weekly audience to pray for the victims of the flooding in the eastern city of Derna, in which 2,300 people have been confirmed killed, while thousands more are missing after flash floods unleashed by Storm Daniel.
After a reconnaissance mission on Tuesday, two Italian military transport aircrafts were due to make three trips Wednesday to carry experts, equipment and other material to Libya.
A naval ship has also set off, due to reach Libya within 24 hours, to provide logistical and medical support, the ministry said in a statement.
Another naval ship carrying two search-and-rescue helicopters, personnel and equipment, might also be dispatched if required, the ministry said.
Two river dams burst after the storm hit Derna on Sunday afternoon, releasing an enormous surge of water that tore through the Mediterranean coastal city, sweeping away buildings and the people inside them.
At least 10,000 people are missing in the country, according to the Red Cross, and another 30,000 people have been left homeless in Derna alone, according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration.
At the Vatican, Pope Francis invited prayers “for those who lost their lives, their families and the displaced.”
“My thoughts are with the people of Libya hard hit by violent rains that caused flooding and inundation causing numerous deaths and injuries as well as extensive damage,” said the 86-year-old pontiff.