Storm and floods leave scores dead in Libya, govt declares 3 days of mourning

Storm and floods leave scores dead in Libya, govt declares 3 days of mourning

A powerful storm and heavy floods have killed 150 people in the eastern Libyan city ofDerna over the last two days and the death toll is expected to rise to 250, the head of the Red Crescent in Benghazi said on Monday. 

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Footage on social media showed people stranded on the roofs of their vehicles as Storm Daniel hit the cities of Benghazi, Sousse, Al Bayda, Al-Marj and Derna,  a city on the Mediterranean some 250km (150 miles) east of Benghazi.

“We recorded at least 150 deaths after the collapse of buildings. We expect death toll to rise to 250. The situation is very catastrophic,” the Red Crescent’s Kais Fhakeri tol Reuters.

The toll in other areas was not immediately clear.


“We were asleep, and when we woke up, we found water besieging the house. We are inside and trying to get out,” Derna resident Ahmed Mohamed told Reuters by phone on Monday.

The missing include seven members of the Libyan National Army (LNA), its spokesman, Ahmad Mismari, said. The LNA is led by Khalifa Haftar which controls the eastern part of the divided country.

Heavy floods washed away vehicles, footage broadcast by eastern Libya’s Almostkbal TV showed. The channel also posted pictures of a collapsed road between Sousse and Shahat, home to the Greek-founded and UNESCO-listed archaeological site Cyrene. Witnesses said the water level had reached three metres (10 feet) in Derna.

Libya’s eastern-based parliament declared three days of mourning. Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, prime minister of the interim government in Tripoli, also declared three days of mourning in all the affected cities, calling them “disaster areas”.

Oil ports

Four major oil ports in Libya, Ras Lanuf, Zueitina, Brega and Es Sidra, were closed from Saturday evening for three days, two oil engineers told Reuters.

Search-and-rescue operations were ongoing, witnesses said.

Authorities declared a state of extreme emergency, closing schools and stores and imposing a curfew.

His administration holds little sway in eastern Libya, but Dbeibah said on Sunday he had directed all state agencies to “immediately deal” with the damage and floods in eastern cities.

Dbeibah’s government is recognised by the Central Bank of Libya, which disburses funds to government departments across the country.

The United Nations in Libya said it was following the storm closely and would “provide urgent relief assistance in support of response efforts at local and national levels”.