October 4, 2023

DERNA, Libya (AP) — The loss of life toll in Libya’s coastal metropolis of Derna has soared to 11,300 as search efforts proceed following an enormous flood fed by the breaching of two dams in heavy rains, the Libyan Pink Crescent mentioned Thursday.

Marie el-Drese, the help group’s secretary-general, advised The Related Press by telephone {that a} additional 10,100 individuals are reported lacking within the Mediterranean metropolis. Well being authorities beforehand put the loss of life toll in Derna at 5,500. The storm additionally killed about 170 folks elsewhere within the nation.

The flooding swept away complete households in Derna on Sunday evening and uncovered vulnerabilities within the oil-rich nation that has been mired in battle since a 2011 rebellion that toppled long-ruling dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Right here’s a have a look at the place issues stand:

Daniel, an unusually sturdy Mediterranean storm, brought about lethal flooding in communities throughout jap Libya, however the worst-hit was Derna. Because the storm pounded the coast Sunday evening, residents mentioned they heard loud explosions when two dams exterior the town collapsed. Floodwaters gushed down Wadi Derna, a valley that cuts via the town, crashing via buildings and washing folks out to sea.

A U.N. official mentioned Thursday that the majority casualties might have been prevented.

“If there would have been a traditional working meteorological service, they might have issued the warnings,” World Meteorological Group head Petteri Taalas advised reporters in Geneva. “The emergency administration authorities would have been capable of perform the evacuation.”

The WMO mentioned earlier this week that the Nationwide Meteorological Heart issued warnings 72 hours earlier than the flooding, notifying all governmental authorities by e-mail and thru media.

Officers in jap Libya warned the general public concerning the coming storm, and on Saturday, they ordered residents to evacuate coastal areas, fearing a surge from the ocean. However there was no warning concerning the dams collapsing.

The startling devastation mirrored the storm’s depth, but additionally Libya’s vulnerability. Oil-rich Libya has been divided between rival governments for a lot of the previous decade — one within the east, the opposite within the capital, Tripoli — and one end result has been the widespread neglect of infrastructure.

The 2 dams that collapsed exterior Derna had been constructed within the Nineteen Seventies. A report by a state-run audit company in 2021 mentioned the dams had not been maintained regardless of the allocation of greater than 2 million euros for that function in 2012 and 2013.

Libya’s Tripoli-based prime minister, Abdul-Hamid Dbeibah, acknowledged the upkeep points throughout a Cupboard assembly Thursday and known as on the Public Prosecutor to open an pressing investigation into the dams’ collapse.

The catastrophe introduced a uncommon second of unity, as authorities businesses throughout the nation rushed to assist the affected areas.

Whereas the Tobruk-based authorities of jap Libya is main aid efforts, the Tripoli-based western authorities allotted the equal of $412 million for reconstruction in Derna and different jap cities, and an armed group in Tripoli despatched a convoy with humanitarian help.

Derna has begun burying its useless, largely in mass graves, mentioned jap Libya’s well being minister, Othman Abduljaleel on Thursday.

Greater than 3,000 our bodies had been buried by Thursday morning, the minister mentioned, whereas one other 2,000 had been nonetheless being processed, He mentioned a lot of the useless had been buried in mass graves exterior Derna, whereas others had been transferred to close by cities and cities.

Abduljaleel mentioned rescue groups had been nonetheless looking out wrecked buildings within the metropolis middle, and divers had been combing the ocean off Derna.

Untold numbers might be buried underneath drifts of mud and particles, together with overturned automobiles and chunks of concrete, that rise as much as 4 meters (13 toes) excessive. Rescuers have struggled to herald heavy gear because the floods washed out or blocked roads resulting in the world.

Libya’s jap based mostly parliament, The Home of Representatives, on Thursday authorized an emergency funds of 10 billion Libyan dinars — roughly $2 billion — to handle the flooding and assist these affected.


As of Thursday, the Libyan Pink Crescent mentioned that 11,300 folks have been killed, and an additional 10,100 are reported lacking.

Nevertheless, native officers advised that the loss of life toll might be a lot greater than introduced.

In feedback to the Saudi-owned Al Arabia tv station on Thursday, Derna Mayor Abdel-Moneim al-Ghaithi mentioned the tally might climb to twenty,000 given the variety of neighborhoods that had been washed out.

The storm additionally killed round 170 folks in different elements of jap Libya, together with the cities of Bayda, Susa, Um Razaz and Marj, the well being minister mentioned.

The useless in jap Libya included at the least 84 Egyptians, whose stays had been transferred to their dwelling nation on Wednesday. Greater than 70 got here from one village within the southern province of Beni Suef. Libyan media additionally mentioned dozens of Sudanese migrants had been killed within the catastrophe.