Libya’s Attorney General / Public Prosecutor’s Office announced today that it has ordered the pretrial detention of 16 officials responsible for managing Libya’s dams. These include the former head of the Water Resources Authority, the Director of Dams Administration, the Head of the Dams Projects Implementation and Maintenance Department, and Head of the Dams Department in the Eastern Region.
It will be recalled that on 10 September Storm Daniel hit eastern Libya badly contributing to the death of just under 4,000 people and the disappearance of an estimated 10,000 people overwhelmingly in the city of Derna. Most disappeared people are though to have been washed out to sea or still buried under rubble and mud. The official death toll is based solely on those buried officially. It is expected to be in the region of 10,000, if not more.
Failure of Derna’s dams
The most likely reason of such a high death and disaster toll is the failure of Derna’s two dams. Reports say the main dam was contracted to receive maintenance and that those responsible failed to conduct this maintenance. The mayor of Derna is also accused of failing to warn his citizens and failing to order them to evacuate the city.
Detention of Derna mayor
The Public Prosecutor also ordered the detention of the mayor of Derna on charges of mismanagement of administrative and financial tasks, and his contribution to the flood disaster. He is accused of neglecting to take precautions against disasters and causing economic losses to the country.
The Public Prosecutor confirmed that investigations are continuing into the rest of those responsible for the incident and those who mismanaged the city’s reconstruction project.