• World - Africa
  • Updated: September 11, 2023

Libya: Storm, Floods Kill At Least 150

Libya: Storm, Floods Kill At Least 150

A violent storm and massive floods have killed at least 150 people in eastern Libya in the last two days, with the death toll sure to increase as scores are also said to have gone missing, according to medical sources.

Social media footage showed people stranded on the roofs of their automobiles when Storm Daniel hit Benghazi, Sousse, Al Bayda, Al-Marj, and Derna.

"We were sleeping when we awoke to find water engulfing the house. We're inside and trying to get out," Ahmed Mohamed, a Derna resident, told reporters on Monday. 

According to LNA spokesman Ahmad Mismari, the missing include seven troops of the Libyan National Army (LNA), a force led by Khalifa Haftar that controls the eastern section of the divided country.

Heavy floods washed away vehicles, according to footage broadcast by Almostkbal TV in eastern Libya. The channel also shared images of a collapsed road between Sousse and Shahat, which is home to the Greek-founded and UNESCO-listed archaeological site of Cyrene.

According to witnesses, the water level in the seaside city of Derna had surpassed three metres (10 feet).

Libya's parliament in the east has announced three days of mourning. The temporary administration of Tripoli's prime minister, Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, has also announced three days of mourning in all impacted cities, referring to them as "disaster areas."

Four key oil ports in Libya, Ras Lanuf, Zueitina, Brega, and Es Sidra, were closed for three days beginning Saturday evening, according to two oil engineers.

Witnesses reported that search-and-rescue activities were still underway. Authorities declared an emergency, closing schools and businesses and imposed a curfew.

Despite having limited influence in eastern Libya, Dbeibah claimed on Sunday that he had urged all state agencies to "immediately deal" with the destruction and flooding in eastern communities.

The Central Bank of Libya, which distributes funding to government departments across the country, recognises Dbeibah's government.

The UN in Libya said it was carefully monitoring the storm and would "provide urgent relief assistance in support of response efforts at the local and national levels."

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