Libya is investigating the collapse of two dams after a flood destroys an eastern city, killing more than 11,000. -
Libya is investigating the collapse of two dams after a flood destroys an eastern city, killing more than 11,000.
Posted 16 Sep 2023 04:55 PM

Image Source: Agencies

Libyan authorities launched an investigation into the collapse of two dams that caused massive flooding in a coastal city as rescue teams searched for bodies on Saturday, nearly a week after more than 11,000 people were killed in the flood.
Heavy rain from Mediterranean Storm Daniel caused deadly flooding in eastern Libya last weekend.
The floods broke two dams and sent a wall of water several meters (yards) high through the center of Derna, destroying entire neighborhoods and sweeping people into the sea.
According to the Libyan Red Crescent, more than 10,000 people have disappeared. Six days later, searchers continue to dig through mud and collapsed buildings for bodies and possible survivors. The Red Crescent has confirmed 11,300 deaths so far.

Claire Nicolet, head of the emergency department at the aid organization Doctors Without Borders, said rescuers had found "many bodies" on Friday and were continuing the search.
"It was a big number... unfortunately, the sea is still throwing up a lot of bodies," he told The Associated Press.
He said major relief efforts are still needed, including rapid psychological support for those who have lost their families. Burial of the bodies remains a major challenge, he said, although some progress has been made in coordinating search and rescue and distributing aid.
Authorities and aid organizations have expressed concern about the spread of waterborne diseases and the transfer of explosives from recent conflicts in Libya.
Libyan Attorney General al-Sediq al-Sour said prosecutors are investigating the collapse of two dams built in the 1970s and the allocation of maintenance funds.

He said prosecutors are investigating the city's local governments as well as previous governments.
"I assure the citizens that whoever made mistakes or omissions, the prosecutors will certainly take strict measures, file a criminal case against him, and send him to court," he said at a press conference in Derna late on Friday. It is unclear how such a study could be conducted in the North African country, which descended into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

For most of the past decade, Libya has been divided between rival regimes - one in the east and one in the west - each backed by powerful militias and international protectors.
One result has been the neglect of critical infrastructure, even as climate change makes extreme weather events more frequent and severe.
The local authorities of the city warned the public about the coming storm and ordered residents to evacuate the coastal areas of Derna last Saturday due to a wave coming from the sea.

However, no warning was issued as the levees collapsed early Monday morning when most residents were sleeping in their homes. According to the 2021 report of the National Audit Office, the two dams were not maintained despite more than $2 million being allocated for the purpose in 2012 and 2013.
In 2007, a Turkish company contracted to maintain both dams in between the construction of the second dam.

Arsel Construction Company Limited announced on its website that it had ceased operations in November 2012. He did not respond to an email seeking further comment.
Local and international rescue teams, meanwhile, worked around the clock to search the city of 90,000 for bodies and possible survivors. Ayoub said his father and nephew died in Derna on Monday, a day after the family fled floods to the nearby town of Bayda.
He said his mother and sister ran up to the roof, but the others did not survive. "I found the boy in the water next to his grandfather," said Ayoub, who gave only his first name. "Walking around and still can't believe what happened," Al-Sour called on residents who have missing relatives to inform the Forensic Science Commission, which is tasked with documenting and identifying bodies found.
“We are asking citizens to cooperate and move quickly to the commission headquarters so that we can complete the work as soon as possible,” he said. Libyan authorities have restricted access to the flooded city to help searchers dig through mud and dilapidated buildings for more than 10,000 people still missing.
They said many of the bodies were buried under the debris or swept into the Mediterranean.
The storm hit other areas in eastern Libya, including the cities of Bayda, Susa, Marji and Shahatt.
Tens of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes in the region and took refuge in schools and other government buildings.
Dozens of foreigners were among the dead, including people who had fled war and unrest elsewhere in the region. Others came to Libya to work or traveled in hopes of moving to Europe.
At least 74 men from an Egyptian village died in the floods, along with dozens of people who had traveled to Libya from war-torn Syria.

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