Libyan city of Derna is declared a disaster zone after devastating flooding. Dozens are feared dead


CAIRO (AP) — At least 20 people were reported dead Monday in eastern Libya after the Mediterranean storm Daniel caused devastating floods over the weekend in different parts of the North African nation. Authorities declared at least one city a disaster zone.

The dead included 12 people in the eastern town of Bayda, the town’s main medical center said. Another seven people were reported dead in the coastal town of Susa in northeastern Libya, according to the Ambulance and Emergency Authority.

One other person was confirmed dead Sunday. The man was stuck in his car and surrounded by floods in the eastern town of Marj, according to Walid al-Arfi, spokesperson for the government-run emergency response agency in eastern Libya.

The Libyan Red Crescent said it lost contact with one of its workers as he attempted to help a stuck family in Bayda. Dozens of others were reported missing, and authorities fear they could have died in the floods that destroyed homes and other properties in several towns in eastern Libya, according to local media.

Over the weekend, Libyans shared footage on social media showing flooded houses and roads in many areas across eastern Libya. They pleaded for help as floods besieged people inside their homes and in their vehicles.

Ossama Hamad, the prime minister of the east Libya government, has declared Derna a disaster zone after heavy rainfall and floods destroyed much of the city. He also government declared a state of emergency Saturday and suspended classes as a precaution ahead of the storm, which made landfall overnight.

The prime minister announced Monday a three-day of mourning and ordered flags across the country to be lowered to half-mast.

Controlling eastern and western Libya, Cmdr. Khalifa Hifter deployed troops to help residents in Benghazi and other eastern towns. Ahmed al-Mosmari, a spokesperson for Hifter’s forces, said they lost contact with five troops who were helping besieged families in Bayda.

As of Monday afternoon, no casualties were reported in the city of Derna, which was the worst hit. The city has become inaccessible and local media reported that the situation there was catastrophic with no electricity or communications.

The storm is expected to arrive in parts of west Egypt on Monday, and the country’s meteorological authorities warned about possible rain and bad weather.

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