December 6, 2023

Libya launches investigation into dam collapse as more people confirmed dead

People carry the body of a victim to be placed at a mass grave after a powerful storm and heavy rainfall hit Libya, in Derna, Libya September 12, 2023. REUTERS/Ayman Al-Sahili

Officials in Libya have commenced investigations into the two dams that caved in, causing floods that wreaked havoc on the north African country.

The flood disaster, according to the Libyan Red Crescent, has killed at least 11,300 people and another 10,100 were reported missing.

It’s unclear how such an investigation might be conducted in the North African country, which descended into anarchy following the overthrow of longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Al-Sediq al-Sour, Libya’s General Prosecutor, stated that prosecutors would look into the collapse of the two dams, which were constructed in the 1970s, as well as the allocation of maintenance funds.

He stressed that prosecutors will look into city officials as well as prior governments.

Earlier on Saturday,a local news station announced that Derna’s mayor, Abdel-Moneim al-Gaithi, had been suspended pending an investigation into the dam collapse, citing a Sept. 14 government directive.

It added that Ahmed Amdour has been chosen as acting mayor of the flood-ravaged city.

According to a 2021 report by a state-run audit body, the two dams were not maintained despite the provision of more than $2 million for that purpose in 2012 and 2013.

Libya has been divided by two administrations, one in the east and one in the west, each backed by armed militias and international backers.

The disaster has however become a rallying cry for national unity in a country ravaged by 12 years of conflict and division.

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