Sunday, September 24, 2023

Flood: UN warns two more Libyan dams likely to break loose

The dams in question are the Jaza Dam – between the partly destroyed city of Darna and Benghazi – and the Qattara Dam near Benghazi.

• September 18, 2023

Following the devastating floods a week ago in Libya, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Sunday said it was concerned about two more dams, which were reportedly dealing with massive amounts of pressure.

The dams in question are the Jaza Dam – between the partly destroyed city of Darna and Benghazi – and the Qattara Dam near Benghazi, the OCHA said.

However, the UN agency said there were “contradictory reports” over the dams’ stability. Both dams were in good condition and functioning, according to authorities.

Pumps were being installed at the Jaza Dam to relieve pressure, the OCHA cited authorities as saying.

Derna was badly hit after the severe storm last weekend, mainly due to the breach of two dams.

The storm killed thousands of people, and thousands more are still missing. The authorities do not yet have exact figures. The city had about 100,000 inhabitants before the disaster.

A powerful storm dubbed Daniel hit Libya on Sept. 10 after earlier lashing Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey.

Two dams broke in the mountains above the port of Derna, washing away large city areas of around 100,000 people.

Concerns are growing about water safety in Derna.

Detected cases of diarrhoea totalled 150 in the city on Saturday due to contaminated drinking water.

But the director of Libya’s National Centre for Disease Control, Haider al-Sayeh, said Sunday that field teams from the centre managed to reduce the cases and advised locals to avoid well water and use bottled water.

The head of the internationally recognized Tripoli-based government, Abdel-Hamid Dbeibeh, ordered the provision of drinking water to flood-affected areas, his administration said Sunday. His government does not have actual control over the eastern part of Libya.

Health minister Othman Abdel Jalil said Sunday that a vaccination campaign had been launched to protect everyone living in Derna and working there, including military, medical staff and journalists.

The minister also announced that a “horrific traffic accident” took place on Sunday, leading to the death of four Greek rescue workers on their way to Derna.

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