Shocking Revelation: High-ranking Libyan Officials Arrested in Tragic Flood Probe

Shocking Revelation: High-ranking Libyan Officials Arrested in Tragic Flood Probe

Sixteen Libyan officials have been detained following the investigation into the tragic collapse of two dams in Derna, resulting in devastating floods and a significant loss of life This incident highlights the urgent need to address the warnings and concerns raised about the dams

According to a statement from Libya's attorney general's office, sixteen officials have been arrested in relation to the investigation of the fatal collapse of two dams in the city of Derna caused by heavy rain earlier this month. The floods resulted in the deaths of numerous individuals. The attorney general's statement further states that a criminal case has been opened against these sixteen officials who were responsible for overseeing the country's dam facilities.

The mayor of the coastal city and multiple current and former authorities responsible for water infrastructure were among those arrested.

On September 10, torrential rainfall and the subsequent overflowing of dams caused a massive surge of water through Derna, resulting in entire neighborhoods being swept into the sea. According to the World Health Organization, nearly 4,000 individuals lost their lives in the floods in Libya, and approximately 9,000 are still missing.

Last week, a catastrophe in Derna led to widespread protests, prompting locals to demand the removal of those in positions of authority. Following interrogations, the attorney general announced on Monday that 16 officials have been placed under pre-trial detention. Additionally, prosecutors are conducting investigations into individuals associated with the floods, particularly those who may have illegally profited from the city's reconstruction project.

Warnings about the dams

The statement added that there is a need for an enhanced inquiry to be initiated into the remaining individuals liable for the Derna flood incident as well as those in charge of the reconstruction project who engaged in mismanagement and obtained illicit profits as a result of this misappropriation.

According to a research paper published last year by Libya's Sebha University, Derna has experienced multiple deadly floods since 1942, with the most recent occurring in 2011. The dams responsible for the flooding were constructed by a Yugoslav construction company between 1973 and 1977. The Derna dam, standing at 75 meters (246 feet) high, has a storage capacity of 18 million cubic meters (4.76 billion gallons). Additionally, the Mansour dam, 45 meters (148 feet) high, has a capacity of 1.5 million cubic meters (396 million gallons).

According to Al Jazeera, the deputy mayor of the city, Ahmed Madroud, stated that the dams have not been maintained since 2002. However, it was already known that there were issues with the dams. A paper from Sebha University highlighted the high potential for flood risk in Derna's dams and stressed the importance of regular maintenance to prevent catastrophic flooding.

Last year, the paper advised officials to urgently implement regular maintenance of the existing dams in the Wadi Derna reservoir due to the potential catastrophic impact on the residents of the valley and the city in the event of a massive flood. CNN reporters Nadeen Ebrahim, Laura Paddison, Sarah Sirgany, Celine Alkhaldi, and Jomana Karadsheh contributed to this report.