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Libya investigates collapse of two dams after devastating flood killed over 11,000

DERNA, Libya: Libyan authorities have opened an investigation into the collapse of two dams that prompted a devastating flood in a coastal metropolis as rescue groups looked for our bodies on Saturday, almost per week after the deluge killed greater than 11,000 individuals.
Heavy rains attributable to Mediterranean storm Daniel prompted lethal flooding throughout japanese Libya final weekend. The floods overwhelmed two dams, sending a wall of water a number of meters (yards) excessive via the middle of Derna, destroying whole neighborhoods and sweeping individuals out to sea.
Greater than 10,000 are lacking, based on the Libyan Purple Crescent. Six days on, searchers are nonetheless digging via mud and hollowed-out buildings, searching for our bodies and potential survivors. The Purple Crescent has confirmed 11,300 deaths to this point.
Claire Nicolet, who heads the emergencies division of the Medical doctors With out Borders assist group, mentioned rescuers discovered “quite a lot of our bodies” on Friday and have been nonetheless looking out. “It was an enormous quantity … the ocean continues to be ejecting numerous lifeless our bodies sadly,” she advised The Related Press.
She mentioned large assist efforts have been nonetheless wanted, together with pressing psychological assist for individuals who misplaced their households. She mentioned the burial of our bodies continues to be a big problem, regardless of some progress in coordinating search and rescue efforts and the distribution of assist.
Authorities and assist teams have voiced concern concerning the unfold of waterborne illnesses and shifting of explosive ordnance from Libya’s latest conflicts.
Libya’s Basic Prosecutor, Al-Sediq Al-Bitter, mentioned prosecutors would examine the collapse of the 2 dams, which have been constructed within the Seventies, in addition to the allocation of upkeep funds. He mentioned prosecutors would examine native authorities within the metropolis, in addition to earlier governments.
“I reassure residents that whoever made errors or negligence, prosecutors will definitely take agency measures, file a legal case in opposition to him and ship him to trial,” he advised a information convention in Derna late Friday.
It’s unclear how such an investigation might be carried out within the North African nation, which plunged into chaos after a NATO-backed rebellion toppled longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011. For many of the previous decade, Libya has been cut up between rival administrations — one within the east, the opposite within the west — every backed by highly effective militias and worldwide patrons.
One consequence has been the neglect of essential infrastructure, whilst local weather change makes excessive climate occasions extra frequent and extreme.
Native officers within the metropolis had warned the general public concerning the coming storm and final Saturday ordered residents to evacuate coastal areas in Derna, fearing a surge from the ocean. However there was no warning concerning the dams, which collapsed early Monday as most residents have been asleep of their properties.
A report by a state-run audit company in 2021 mentioned the 2 dams had not been maintained regardless of the allocation of greater than $2 million for that goal in 2012 and 2013.
A Turkish agency was contracted in 2007 to hold out maintainance on the 2 dams and construct one other dam in between. The agency, Arsel Building Firm Restricted, mentioned on its web site that it accomplished its work in November 2012. It didn’t reply to an e mail searching for additional remark.
Native and worldwide rescue groups have been in the meantime working across the clock, looking for our bodies and potential survivors within the metropolis of 90,000 individuals.
Ayoub mentioned his father and nephew died in Derna on Monday, a day after the household had fled flooding within the close by city of Bayda. He mentioned his mom and sister raced upstairs to the roof however the others didn’t make it. “I discovered the child within the water subsequent to his grandfather,” mentioned Ayoub, who solely gave his first title. “I’m wandering round and I nonetheless don’t imagine what occurred.”
Al-Bitter known as on residents who’ve lacking kinfolk to report back to a forensic committee that works on documenting and figuring out retrieved our bodies.
“We ask residents to cooperate and shortly proceed to the committee’s headquarters in order that we will end the work as shortly as potential,” he mentioned.
Libyan authorities have restricted entry to the flooded metropolis to make it simpler for searchers to dig via the mud and hollowed-out buildings for the greater than 10,000 individuals nonetheless lacking. Many our bodies have been believed to have been buried below rubble or swept out into the Mediterranean Sea, they mentioned.
The storm hit different areas in japanese Libya, together with the cities of Bayda, Susa, Marj and Shahatt. Tens of hundreds of individuals have been displaced within the area and took shelter in colleges and different authorities buildings.
Dozens of foreigners have been amongst these killed, together with individuals who had fled conflict and unrest elsewhere within the area. Others had come to Libya to work or have been touring via in hopes of migrating to Europe. At the very least 74 males from one village in Egypt perished within the flood, in addition to dozens of people that had traveled to Libya from war-torn Syria.

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