(BBC) The United Nations is calling deadly floods in Libya a “calamity of epic proportions” noting the latest figures suggesting more than 5,000 people dead and about 10,000 who have been reported missing.

Up to 1.8 million people are estimated to have been affected by the torrential rains that hit several cities in the country, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Calling the disaster “epic”, WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris said “here’s not been a storm like this in the region in living memory, so it’s a great shock”.

Emergency workers and residents are continuing to dig through rubble to look for survivors and the dead.

The UN Secretary-General António Guterres has sent his condolences to the Libyan authorities and the families of those who have died.

He said the UN was working with the authorities to assess needs and support relief efforts.

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