Libya announces commencement of investigations into dam collapse
Libya's Attorney General, Al-Siddiq Al-Sur, has declared the initiation of investigations into the circumstances surrounding the Derna dam's collapse.
Libya's chief prosecutor issued an order on Friday to investigate the catastrophic collapse of two dams during the overwhelming floods. The investigation aims to determine whether improved maintenance could have averted this disaster.
Following the heavy rains and extensive flooding brought about by the Mediterranean Storm Daniel in eastern Libya, the two dams near the port city of Derna gave way earlier this week, resulting in the devastation of a quarter of the region. Consequently, the city was declared a disaster zone.
Libya's Attorney General, Al-Siddiq Al-Sur, has revealed that decades-old studies have indicated the presence of cracks and subsidence in the two dams.
Al-Sour revealed that approximately $8 million had been earmarked for maintenance, which was abruptly halted a few months after commencement due to the outbreak of the Arab Spring in the early 2010s. He informed reporters on Friday that prosecutors are currently scrutinizing the allocation and utilization of these funds intended for dam maintenance.
Al-Sur said that the investigations will show whether the two dams, which were originally designed to protect the city from floods and not to retain rainwater, were unsuitable, which led to their collapse, or whether there were other reasons, stressing that in the end, “the details of the crime will be revealed through investigations."
11,300 confirmed victims
A team of 26 prosecutors will now be dispatched to Derna to document victims and determine the causes of their deaths, according to Al-Sur. His office does not have an accurate count of fatalities, as investigations are still ongoing.
According to the Libyan Red Crescent, a concerning statistic has emerged. As of Friday, there have been a minimum of 11,300 confirmed fatalities, accompanied by reports of 10,100 individuals who remain unaccounted for in the aftermath of the catastrophic floods.
Derna Mayor Abdulmenam al-Ghaithi expressed his concerns on Thursday, suggesting that the death toll in Derna alone could potentially exceed 20,000 people, given the extensive damage.
Libya's National Center of Meteorology reported that the northeastern city of Bayda received more than 16 inches of rain in just 24 hours leading up to Sunday, as documented by the flood tracking website Floodlist.