Libya floods: Derna disaster could have been avoided, experts conclude

In Libya, the results of the judicial inquiry into the Derna disaster were made public in the middle of the week. Massive floods devastated much of the northeastern Libyan city on September 10 and 11 and killed 4540,<> people, according to the latest count.

View of the flood-ravaged city of Derna, Libya. © Jamal Alkomaty / AP

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The 25 experts are unanimous, said Prosecutor General Al-Siddiq Al-Sour. The dams that collapsed in Derna last September were fragile. It was negligence that led to the disaster, he said. It could have been avoided if the recommendations made since 2003 to maintain these dams and build a third one had been implemented.

In the aftermath of the disaster, the Libyan prosecutor's office refused an international investigation, believing that the Libyan justice system could take care of it. Sixteen prominent figures were indicted and fourteen were imprisoned, including the mayor of Derna and the heads of the Derna Water Management Authority and the Dams Department. They failed to prove that they were not responsible, Al-Siddiq Al-Sour said, before concluding that all the officials in charge of the dams across the country since 2003 were responsible for the disaster to varying degrees.

According to the latest official count, the floods that destroyed much of the city of Derna have killed 4540,<> Libyans and foreigners.

Read alsoFloods in Libya: in Derna, ruins and silence

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