Fears that hundreds may be killed in floods in Libya

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The head of one of Libya’s two rival governments said on Monday that there were fears that 2,000 people could be killed in floods that swept through the eastern parts of the North African country.

In a phone interview with Al-Masar TV on Monday, Prime Minister Osama Hamad said there were fears that 2,000 people had been killed in the eastern city of Derna, and thousands more had been reported missing.

He said that the floods swept away entire neighborhoods in Derna, which was declared a disaster area, after the Mediterranean storm Daniel hit the country.

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The Libyan Red Crescent said that it lost contact with one of its workers while trying to help a stranded family in Al Bayda. Dozens of others were reported missing, and authorities fear they may have died in the floods that destroyed homes and other property in several towns in eastern Libya, according to local media.

Derna, which was the worst affected, was no longer accessible, and local media reported that the situation there was catastrophic with power and communications outages.

Over the weekend, Libyans shared footage on social media showing homes and roads submerged in water in several areas in eastern Libya. They called for help as floods trapped people inside their homes and cars.

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Hamad declared Derna a disaster area after heavy rains and floods destroyed most parts of the city. The government also declared a state of emergency on Saturday and suspended classes as a precaution before the storm made landfall overnight.

On Monday, the Prime Minister declared three days of mourning and ordered flags across the country to be flown at half-mast.

Controlling eastern and western Libya, Commander. Khalifa Haftar deployed forces to help residents in Benghazi and other eastern cities. Ahmed Al-Mesmari, spokesman for Haftar’s forces, said that they had lost contact with five soldiers who were helping families besieged in Al-Bayda.

The storm is expected to reach parts of western Egypt on Monday, with the possibility of thunderstorms and strong winds.

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