Storm Daniel and floods kill 150 people in eastern Libya

A powerful storm and heavy floods have killed 150 people in the eastern Libyan city of Derna over the past two days and the death toll is expected to rise to 250, the head of the Red Crescent in Benghazi has said.

Footage on social media showed people stranded on the roofs of their vehicles as Storm Daniel hit Benghazi, Sousse, Al Bayda, Al-Marj and Derna, a city on the Mediterranean 150 miles east of Benghazi.

Kais Fhakeri of the Red Crescent said: “We recorded at least 150 deaths after the collapse of buildings. We expect death toll to rise to 250. The situation is very catastrophic.”

The toll in other areas was not immediately clear.

A Derna resident, Ahmed Mohamed, said: “We were asleep, and when we woke up, we found water besieging the house. We are inside and trying to get out.”

The missing include seven members of the Libyan National Army (LNA), its spokesperson, Ahmad Mismari, said. The LNA is led by Khalifa Haftar and controls the eastern part of the divided country.

Heavy floods washed away vehicles, footage broadcast by eastern Libya’s Almostkbal TV showed. The channel also posted pictures of a collapsed road between Sousse and Shahat, home to Unesco-listed archaeological site Cyrene.

Witnesses said the water level had reached three metres (10ft) in Derna.

Libya’s eastern-based parliament declared three days of mourning. Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, the prime minister of the interim government in Tripoli, also announced three days of mourning in all the affected cities, calling them “disaster areas”.

His administration holds little sway in eastern Libya but Dbeibah said on Sunday he had directed all state agencies to “immediately deal” with the damage and floods in the affected cities.

Dbeibah’s government is recognised by the Central Bank of Libya, which disburses funds to government departments across the country.

Four oil ports – Ras Lanuf, Zueitina, Brega and Es Sidra – were closed from Saturday evening.

The Guardian

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