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Libya: At least 150 people killed in flooding after heavy rains

Storm Daniel continues her deadly path. Floods caused by heavy rains have killed at least 150 people in eastern Libya hit by the storm, followed by Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria, an official said on Monday.

Speaking on Libya’s Almasar channel, eastern Libya’s chief executive, Osama Hamad, cited figures of “more than 2,000 dead and thousands missing” in the city of Derna alone, but not a single medical or emergency source confirmed this information. losses. While the media in eastern Libya covered Osama Hamad’s statements widely, the anecdotal reports they reported from various locations were far lower than the figures he cited.

“At least 150 people have died due to flooding caused by Hurricane Daniel in Derna, areas of Jabal al-Akhdar and the suburb of Al-Marjah,” Mohamed Masoud, a spokesman for the eastern executive, said earlier. The storm also caused “significant material damage to infrastructure and private property,” the Libyan spokesman added.

Buildings demolished

Described by experts as an “extreme event in terms of the amount of water that fell”, Hurricane Daniel has also struck Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria in recent days, killing at least 27 people. On Sunday afternoon it affected eastern Libya, especially the coastal towns of Jabal al-Akhdar (northeast), as well as Benghazi, where a curfew was declared and schools were closed. It has been raining heavily in the region for several days now.

The main oil fields and terminals are located in the east of the country. The National Oil Company (NOC) declared a “state of maximum alert” and “suspended flights” between production sites where activity has dropped sharply.

Rescue teams were sent on Sunday to Derna, a city located 900 km east of Tripoli and 300 km east of Benghazi. The coastal city of more than 100,000 residents crosses a wadi that flows into the Mediterranean Sea, which the storm has overflowed some fifty meters on each side, carrying buildings and houses along its path, according to broadcast videos. media.

Hundreds of residents are stranded

Earlier on Monday, Osama Hamad declared Derna a “disaster city” before heading there with his ministers. Hundreds of residents remain stuck in hard-to-reach areas as rescue teams backed by the army try to help them.

In a statement to local channel Libya al-Ahrar, a spokesman for Derna’s municipal council called the situation in his city “catastrophic,” “out of control” and requiring “national and international intervention.”

On Monday evening, the head of the Presidential Council (PC) Mohamad al-Manfi called for “assistance from brotherly and friendly countries and international organizations” and officially declared Libya’s eastern cities of Derna, Shahat and al-Bayda a “disaster zone”, according to a statement posted on Facebook. He reported the collapse of four major bridges and two buildings, as well as two city dams.

Three days of national mourning

During an extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers broadcast live on television on Monday, caretaker Prime Minister Abdelhamid Dbeibah declared “three days of national mourning”, emphasizing the “unity of all Libyans” in the face of the disaster. The UN mission in Libya said it was “closely monitoring the emergency situation (…) in the eastern region of the country”, expressing solidarity with the families of the victims in a message published on X (formerly Twitter).

French President Emmanuel Macron also expressed at X his “solidarity with the Libyan people who are suffering from terrible floods.”

Source: Le Parisien

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