Prime minister of one of Libya's rival governments says 2,000 people believed dead in flooding in eastern Libya.

Libya flooding: 2,000 people believed dead


The head of one of Libya’s rival governments said Monday that 2,000 people are feared dead in flooding that swept through the eastern parts of the north African nation.

In a phone interview with al-Masar television station Monday, Prime Minister Ossama Hamad said that 2,000 were feared dead in the eastern city of Derna, and thousands of others are reported missing.

He said the floods have swept away entire neighborhoods in Derna, which has been declared a disaster zone, after the country was hit by Mediterranean storm Daniel.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

At least 27 people were reported dead Monday in eastern Libya after the Mediterranean storm Daniel caused devastating floods over the weekend in different parts of the North African nation. Authorities declared at least one city a disaster zone.

Othman Abduljaleel, the health minister of the east Libya government, announced the death toll Monday afternoon in a telephone interview on the Saudi-owned satellite news channel Al-Arabiya. He said at least 50 others were missing.

Abduljaleel said the tally didn’t include the city of Derna — declared a disaster zone — where the situation remained unclear as of Monday afternoon.

The dead included 12 people in the eastern town of Bayda, the town’s main medical centre said. Another seven people were reported dead in the coastal town of Susa in northeastern Libya, according to the Ambulance and Emergency Authority. Seven others were reported dead in the towns of Shahatt and Omar al-Mokhtar, the minister said.

One other person was confirmed dead Sunday. The man was stuck in his car and surrounded by floods in the eastern town of Marj, according to Walid al-Arfi, spokesperson for the government-run emergency response agency in eastern Libya.

The Libyan Red Crescent said it lost contact with one of its workers as he attempted to help a stuck family in Bayda. Dozens of others were reported missing, and authorities fear they could have died in the floods that destroyed homes and other properties in several towns in eastern Libya, according to local media.

Derna, which was the worst hit, has become inaccessible and local media reported that the situation there was catastrophic with no electricity or communications.

Over the weekend, Libyans shared footage on social media showing flooded houses and roads in many areas across eastern Libya. They pleaded for help as floods besieged people inside their homes and in their vehicles.

Ossama Hamad, the prime minister of the east Libya government, has declared Derna a disaster zone after heavy rainfall and floods destroyed much of the city. He also government declared a state of emergency Saturday and suspended classes as a precaution ahead of the storm, which made landfall overnight.

The prime minister announced Monday a three-day of mourning and ordered flags across the country to be lowered to half-mast.

Controlling eastern and western Libya, Cmdr. Khalifa Hifter deployed troops to help residents in Benghazi and other eastern towns. Ahmed al-Mosmari, a spokesperson for Hifter’s forces, said they lost contact with five troops who were helping besieged families in Bayda.

Libya, a country with over 6 million people, suffers from debilitating infrastructure after more than a decade of conflict. The Mediterranean nation has plunged into chaos since a NATO-supported uprising in 2011 toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi who was later killed.

The oil-rich country has been divided for most of the past decade between rival administrations in the east and west. Each administration is backed by armed groups and militias, and foreign governments.

Storm Danial is expected to arrive in parts of west Egypt on Monday, and the country’s meteorological authorities warned about possible rain and bad weather.