Derna [Libya]: Days after a catastrophic flood killed thousands of people in Libya, the country’s top prosecutor will investigate the collapse of two dams in the eastern port of Derna that launched a fast-moving wall of water, Al Jazeera reported.
General Prosecutor al-Sediq al-Sour said the local authorities, previous governments, and the allocation of the dams’ maintenance funds will also be scrutinised.
“I reassure citizens that whoever made mistakes or negligence, prosecutors will certainly take firm measures, file a criminal case against him and send him to trial,” al-Sour said at a news conference on Friday, according to Al Jazeera.
The announcement came as rescue teams continued to search for bodies in the devastated city on Saturday.
The death toll in Derna surged to 11,300 as search efforts continued, Al Jazeera reported citing The Libyan Red Crescent.
However, another 10,100 individuals are reported missing in the Mediterranean city, said Marie el-Drese, the secretary-general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Libya.
However, the officials in the east and west of the divided country gave different estimates.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday said in a release, “The bodies of 3,958 people have been recovered and identified” with 9,000 more still missing.
The WHO also announced 29 tonnes of health supplies for the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, reported Al Jazeera.
Ahmed Zouiten, the WHO’s representative in Libya, said, “This is a disaster of epic proportions. We are saddened by the unspeakable loss of thousands of souls.”
The figure could reach 20,000, according to Derna’s mayor, Abdel-Moneim al-Ghaithi, given the sheer number of neighbourhoods affected.
On Sunday night, the flooding in Derna carried away entire families, exposing vulnerabilities in the oil-rich nation, which has been embroiled in strife ever since a 2011 uprising that deposed long-reigning autocrat Muammar Gaddafi.
The IFRC on Friday said emergency workers sifting through the mud and rubble are still hopeful of finding survivors.
Access to Derna is still very difficult due to the destruction of roads and bridges as well as the cutting of phone and electricity connections to large areas where at least 30,000 people are now without a place to live.
The United Nations said in a statement, “With the collapse of most roads, the municipality [of Derna] is urging relevant authorities to establish a sea corridor for emergency relief and evacuations.”
Petteri Taalas, the UN’s World Meteorological Organisation chief, said that several fatalities could have been avoided had a warning been issued earlier and emergency management systems functioned properly in the war-scarred country, Al Jazeera reported.