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Thousands killed in Libya as flooding ravages coast

A devastating storm struck eastern Libya on Sunday, leaving thousands of people dead and large swaths of the area severely damaged.

The storm, dubbed “Daniel,” hit Derna, Al Bayda, Al Marj, Susah, Shahat, Benghazi and other parts of eastern Libya near the North African country’s Mediterranean coast.

The official Libyan News Agency reported on Monday that more than 2,000 people have been killed and thousands of others are missing in Derna alone.

Another 46 people died in Al Bayda, in addition to several deaths in Susah, Al Marj and other areas, The Associated Press reported.

The situation in Derna is particularly harrowing. Fathi al-Karimi, who heads the General Authority for National Safety in the city, described the situation there as “catastrophic.” Karimi said two dams collapsed and that some areas are completely underwater. Hundreds of people have been evacuated but others remain trapped, according to the Libyan News Agency.

Videos shared on social media showed severe flooding in Derna.

Large-scale of devastation and destruction as well as loss of lives in eastern #Libya – footage in #Derna city – due to #StormDaniel that has ravaged the region.

Prayers to all. RIP those who lost their lives.
— Abdulkader Assad (@Abd0Assad) September 11, 2023

Reuters reported that the water level had reached three meters, or about 10 feet, in Derna.

Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, who heads the rival and United Nations-backed Government of National Unity in Tripoli, convened an emergency session on Monday and declared three days of national mourning, according to the agency.

Libya’s state-run National Oil Corporation issued a warning on Saturday to oil companies, asking them to restrict movement and stop flights between oil fields, among other things, according to a Facebook post by the corporation.

Why it matters: The flood damage could be compounded by the effects of the recent conflict in Libya. The country suffered tremendously during the civil war between the eastern-based forces of Gen. Khalifa Hifter and the Tripoli government that lasted from 2014 to 2020. Infrastructure was severely damaged during the war.

Know more: Egypt’s Meteorological Authority warned on Sunday that the storm will hit the country on Monday, the state-owned Al-Ahram news outlet reported.

AccuWeather’s radar showed heavy rain in the eastern Mediterranean Sea at 10:45 a.m. ET on Monday.

Daniel has also affected parts of Turkey and Greece, among other places.

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