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Thousands feared dead as flooding sweeps Libya

A damaged road in Shahhat, north-eastern Libya

Thousands of people are feared dead after a powerful storm triggered devastating flooding in Libya.

The leader of the east Libyan government, which is not recognised internationally, said deaths “exceed 2,000”.

Channel 1

Jalel Harchaoui, a Libya specialist, told the BBC the death toll could reach as many as “several thousand” people.

Storm Daniel made landfall on Sunday, prompting authorities to declare a state of extreme emergency.

Seven Libyan army personnel went missing during ongoing rescue efforts.

Officials in the east imposed a curfew, while schools and shops were ordered to close

The eastern cities of Benghazi, Sousse, Derna and Al-Marj were all affected.

As well as the rising death toll, the Libyan Red Cross said that at least 150 homes had been destroyed. The head of the Red Crescent humanitarian network said at least 150 deaths had occurred in Derna alone, according to news agency Reuters.

Two dams in Derna – home to approximately 100,000 people – reportedly collapsed, submerging much of the area and drowning some residents.

Authorities consequently declared the port a “disaster city”.

Eastern Prime Minister Osama Hamad told a Libyan television channel: “The missing are in the thousands, and the dead exceed 2,000… entire neighbourhoods in Derna have disappeared, along with their residents … swept away by water.”

Alongside areas in the east, the western city of Misrata was among those hit by the floods.

Unverified videos of the storm have been circulating online, including a clip showing torrents of floodwater sweeping a man away. Other footage shows drivers trapped on their car roofs.

Alongside schools and shops, four major oil ports closed because of the storm.

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