150 killed in Libya floods after rainstorm

150 killed in Libya floods after rainstorm

At least 150 people were killed in freak floods in Libya as a result of storm Daniel which has swept the Mediterranean, an official said on Monday.

“At least 150 people were killed as a result of flooding and torrential rains left by storm Daniel in Derna, the Jabal al-Akhdar region and the suburbs of Al-Marj,” Mohamed Massoud, a spokesman for the Benghazi-based administration in Libya, told AFP.

“This is besides the massive material damage that struck public and private properties,” he added.

He said the prime minister of the east-based government, Oussama Hamad, and the head of a rescue committee as well as other ministers had travelled to Derna to evaluate the extent of the damage.

Hamad’s government — which rivals a UN-brokered, internationally recognised transitional administration in Tripoli — on Monday declared Derna a “disaster area”.

Experts have described storm Daniel — which also struck parts of Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria in recent days, killing at least 27 people — as “extreme in terms of the amount of water falling in a space of 24 hours”.

The storm struck eastern Libya on Sunday afternoon, notably the coastal town of Jabal al-Akhdar but also Benghazi, where a curfew was declared and schools closed for several days.

Rescue teams were also deployed in Derna, 900 kilometres (560 miles) east of the capital Tripoli.

With a population of 100,000, the city lies in the wadi of a river bearing the same name.

East Libyan authorities had “lost contact with nine soldiers during rescue operations” in the city, Massoud had said.

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