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Libya floods: A dam collapse due to Storm Daniel sweeps neighborhoods into the sea, officials say

Libya floods: A dam collapse due to Storm Daniel sweeps neighborhoods into the sea, officials say


Thousands of people are feared dead in Libya after Storm Daniel brought heavy rains to the northeast causing two dams to collapse in one area, sweeping entire neighborhoods into the sea.

More than 2,000 people have been killed and about 6,000 others are missing in the hard-hit city of Derna, where two dams collapsed under the pressure of floods, according to Ahmed Al-Mismari, spokesman for the Libyan National Army based in the east of the country.

“As a result, three bridges were destroyed. The flowing waters swept away entire neighborhoods, eventually throwing them into the sea,” he said.

Libyan government/A.B

Cars and rubble on a street in Derna, Libya, on Monday, September 11, 2023, after it was flooded by heavy rain.

CNN was unable to independently verify the death toll, and Al-Mismari did not mention a source for the number of dead and missing.

The Benghazi Red Crescent previously estimated that between 150 and 250 people had died in Derna, according to Reuters.

The head of the Libyan Emergency and Ambulance Authority, Osama Ali, told CNN that after the dam collapsed, “all the water went to an area near Derna, which is a mountainous coastal area.”

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He added that homes in the valleys were swept away by strong mud currents that carried vehicles and debris. Ali said phone lines in the city were also down, complicating rescue efforts, with workers unable to enter Derna due to severe damage.

Ali said that the authorities did not anticipate the scale of the disaster.

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He added: “Weather conditions, sea water levels and rainfall were not well studied [were not studied]Ali said: “The winds are fast, and there was no evacuation of families who could be in the path of the storm and in the valleys.”

Imhamed Muhammad Kashim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Settlements, vehicles and workplaces were damaged after flooding caused by heavy rains in Misrata, Libya on September 10, 2023.

He added: “Libya was not prepared for a disaster like this. This level of disaster has never been witnessed before. Ali told Al-Hurra TV earlier: “We admit that there are shortcomings even though this is the first time we have faced this level of disaster.”

Al-Mismari, the official spokesman for the Libyan National Army, said that the floods affected several cities, including Al-Bayda, Al-Marj, Tobruk, Takins, Al-Bayda, and Battah, in addition to the eastern coast all the way to Benghazi.

Libya, with a population of six million, has been divided between warring factions since 2014, following the 2011 NATO-backed uprising against Muammar Gaddafi.

The head of the parliament-backed government of eastern Libya, Osama Hamad, described the situation as “catastrophic and unprecedented,” according to a report issued by the official Libyan News Agency (Lana).

Footage circulated on social media showed submerged cars, collapsed buildings, and torrents of water flowing in the streets.

Video clips shared by the Medical Center in Al-Bayda on Facebook showed the evacuation of hospitals in the city of Al-Bayda in the east of the country after severe flooding due to rain caused by a severe storm.

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Omar Jarhman – Reuters

People stand on a damaged road when a strong storm and heavy rain hit the city of Shahat, Libya, September 11, 2023.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya said, in a blog post on the

Several countries sent their condolences and offered assistance to Libya as rescue teams rushed to find survivors under the rubble and rubble.

Turkey’s disaster agency said on Monday it would mobilize 150 search and rescue personnel, along with tents, rescue vehicles and other supplies such as generators.

The US Embassy in Libya said on

The Emirates News Agency reported that the President of the Emirates, Zayed Al Nahyan, directed the sending of relief, search and rescue teams, offering his condolences to those affected by the disaster.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi also offered his condolences to Libya. Al-Sisi said in a statement on social media: “I wish a speedy recovery for the injured, and I hope that the crisis will pass quickly and that the Libyans will stand together.”

The weekend rain is the result of the remnants of a very strong low pressure system, which has been officially named Storm Daniel by the national meteorological services of southeastern Europe.

Ali Al-Saadi / Reuters

An aerial view of flood waters during a strong storm and heavy rains that hit the city of Shahat, Libya, September 11, 2023.

The storm brought Catastrophic floods in Greece Last week before it moved into the Mediterranean Sea and developed into a tropical cyclone known as medicine. These systems can lead to dangerous conditions in the Mediterranean and coastal countries, similar to tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic or hurricanes in the Pacific.

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The remnants of the storm affect northern Libya and slowly move east towards northern Egypt. Rainfall over the next two days could reach 50mm – this area averages less than 10mm of rainfall throughout the entire month of September.