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UN warns 2 other dams in Libya may burst

September 18, 2023 at 11:00 am

A view of devastation after the floods caused by the Storm Daniel ravaged the region, in Derna, Libya on September 16, 2023. [Abdullah Mohammed Bonja – Anadolu Agency]

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has expressed concerns about two more dams in Libya, after they were reported to be bearing huge amounts of pressure, following the devastating floods that Libya witnessed earlier this month.

OCHA stated that the two dams in question are the Wadi Jazza Dam – between the partially destroyed cities of Derna and Benghazi – and the Wadi Al-Qattara Dam near Benghazi.

However, according to the office, there are “contradictory reports” regarding the stability of the dams. Authorities said both dams were in good condition and working well. OCHA quoted the Libyan authorities as saying that pumps are being installed at the Jazza Dam to relieve pressure on the dam.

The city of Derna suffered severe damage after the major storm last weekend, mainly due to the collapse of two dams.

The storm claimed the lives of thousands of people and thousands more are still missing. The number of fatalities is expected to increase as flood waters recede and bodies are recovered.

Estimates by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) indicated that more than 40,000 people lost their homes as a result of the disaster that occurred in north-eastern Libya, but this number may be much higher.

It has not yet been possible to formulate any accurate statistics in many severely damaged areas. The World Food Program is preparing food supplies to support 100,000 people in the disaster area for a period of no less than three months.

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