Storm Daniel causes deadly flooding in Derna, Libya

A powerful storm that unleashed torrential rains and severe flooding across eastern Libya has devastated entire communities along its Mediterranean coast, causing widespread destruction and an unknown number of deaths, officials said.

Authorities declared the city of Terna a disaster zone early Monday after dams broke and floodwaters inundated neighborhoods, washing away cars and city blocks and leaving a muddy, churning river.

At least 150 people were killed in Derna as a result of the tropical-storm-like storm, a Libyan Red Crescent official surnamed Daniel told Reuters, and the organization expected the death toll to rise.

Libya is politically and geographically divided into east and west and is ruled by two rival governments, including the United Nations-backed Tripoli administration. In eastern Libya, officials said thousands were believed to be dead or missing in Derna.

In a telephone interview with a local television channel, Osama Hamad, the prime minister of the eastern Libyan government, feared that 2,000 people had died but gave no evidence for that figure.

“We’re alerting all medical equipment, all medical systems, to Terna,” he said, his voice cutting in and out over the bad link. “There are no connections – I had to leave Terna to get this connection.”

Issam Abu Zurifa, the interior minister of eastern Libya, also said at least 1,000 people had been killed. “The damage is very serious,” he said in an interview with Saudi Arabia-based Al-Hadad news channel. “There are areas that are completely washed out to sea.”

Four people drowned in floods in Libya in 2019 died in the southwest of the country, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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But Hurricane Daniel, which wreaked havoc in Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria last week, triggered heavy rains that overwhelmed infrastructure. At least 26 people died in three countries, according to the Associated Press.

Libya’s National Meteorological Center reported a total of 414.1 millimeters – more than 16 inches – of rain in 24 hours in Beida, where at least 12 people were. reported Dead, Step Flood listA website that aggregates flood information. Bayda receives half an inch in a typical September and an average of 21.4 inches of rain in a year.

About 170 millimeters of rain – 2.75 inches – fell in Al Abraq in Derna district. Witnesses told Reuters that floods reached 10 feet in Terna.

“We hope that the sea route will be opened as soon as possible, and we hope that there will be international intervention as a matter of urgency,” Derna’s city council member Ahmad Amatvard said in a video message. carried away On the Municipal Council of Terna Facebook page.

A storm was expected Heavy rains and floods in northern Egypt By Tuesday. Egyptian Meteorological Authority warned Residents of the greater Cairo area are bracing for heavy rain. But officials said the intensity of the storm was abating as the storm lost its strength over dry land in Libya.

The storm broke dozens of records amid similar extreme weather associated with deadly flooding in Spain and intense heat across much of Western Europe.

After it triggered severe flooding in Greece, the storm became a “medicine” or tropical cyclone, which occasionally forms in the Mediterranean. A process in which the storm strengthened as it gained energy from unusually warm water intensified by Man-made climate change, before moving south and east and dumping heavy rains in northeastern Libya.

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Jason Samenow contributed to this report.

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