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Loss of life toll soars to 11,300 from flooding in Libya

By SAMY MAGDY and YOUSEF MURAD (Related Press)

DERNA, Libya (AP) — The dying toll in Libya’s coastal metropolis of Derna has soared to 11,300 as search efforts proceed following a large flood fed by the breaching of two dams in heavy rains, the Libyan Purple 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 dying toll in Derna at 5,500. The storm additionally killed about 170 individuals elsewhere within the nation.

The flooding swept away whole households in Derna on Sunday night time 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 take a look at the place issues stand:


Daniel, an unusually robust Mediterranean storm, precipitated lethal flooding in communities throughout jap Libya, however the worst-hit was Derna. Because the storm pounded the coast Sunday night time, residents mentioned they heard loud explosions when two dams outdoors the town collapsed. Floodwaters gushed down Wadi Derna, a valley that cuts by the town, crashing by buildings and washing individuals out to sea.

A U.N. official mentioned Thursday that almost all casualties may have been prevented.

“If there would have been a standard 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 Middle 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 in regards to the coming storm, and on Saturday, they ordered residents to evacuate coastal areas, fearing a surge from the ocean. However there was no warning in regards to the dams collapsing.


The startling devastation mirrored the storm’s depth, but in addition 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 outcome has been the widespread neglect of infrastructure.

The 2 dams that collapsed outdoors Derna have 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 goal 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 lifeless, largely in mass graves, mentioned jap Libya’s well being minister, Othman Abduljaleel earlier Thursday.

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

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

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

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


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

Nonetheless, native officers steered that the dying toll might be a lot larger than introduced.

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

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

The lifeless in jap Libya included not less than 84 Egyptians, whose stays have been transferred to their residence 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 have been killed within the catastrophe.


The floods have displaced not less than 30,000 individuals in Derna, in accordance with the U.N.’s Worldwide Group for Migration, and several other thousand others have been compelled to go away their houses in different jap cities, it mentioned.

The floods broken or destroyed many entry roads to Derna, hampering the arrival of worldwide rescue groups and humanitarian help. Native authorities have been capable of clear some routes, and humanitarian convoys have been capable of enter the town over the previous couple of days.

The U.N. humanitarian workplace issued an emergency attraction for $71.4 million to answer pressing wants of 250,000 Libyans most affected. The workplace, referred to as OCHA, estimated that roughly 884,000 individuals in 5 provinces stay in areas instantly affected by the rain and flooding.

The Worldwide Committee of the Purple Cross mentioned Thursday that it has supplied 6,000 physique luggage to native authorities, in addition to medical, meals and different provides distributed to hard-hit communities.

Worldwide help began to reach earlier this week in Benghazi, 250 kilometers (150 miles) west of Derna. A number of international locations have despatched help and rescue groups, together with neighboring Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia. Italy dispatched a naval vessel on Thursday carrying humanitarian help and two navy helicopters for use for search and rescue operations.

President Joe Biden mentioned the USA would ship cash to aid organizations and coordinate with Libyan authorities and the United Nations to offer extra assist.


Magdy reported from Cairo. Related Press reporter Jack Jeffery contributed to this report from London.


This story was up to date to appropriate the Derna mayor’s identify. He’s Abdel-Moneim al-Ghaithi, not Abdel-Raham al-Ghaithi.

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