At least 150 people died in freak floods in Libya as a result of storm Daniel which has swept the Mediterranean, an official said on Monday.
It was reported that the storm forced health facilities and other social amenities to shut down, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake and disrupting various services.
“At least 150 people were killed as a result of flooding and torrential rains left by storm Daniel in Derna, the Jabal al-Akhdar region and the suburbs of Al-Marj”, a spokesman for the Benghazi-based administration in Libya, Mohamed Massoud told AFP.
“This is besides the massive material damage that struck public and private properties”, he added.
Massoud said the prime minister of the east-based government, Oussama Hamad and the head of a rescue committee, as well as other ministers had travelled to Derna to evaluate the extent of the damage.
Hamad’s government, which rivals a UN-brokered, internationally recognised transitional administration in Tripoli on Monday declared Derna a “disaster area”.
Experts have described storm Daniel, which also struck parts of Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria in recent days, killing at least 27 people as “extreme in terms of the amount of water falling in a space of 24 hours”.
The storm struck eastern Libya on Sunday afternoon, notably the coastal town of Jabal al-Akhdar but also Benghazi where a curfew was declared and schools closed for several days.
Rescue teams were also deployed in Derna, 900 kilometres east of the capital Tripoli.
With a population of 100,000, the city lies in the wadi of a river bearing the same name.
East Libyan authorities had “lost contact with nine soldiers during rescue operations” in the city, Massoud had said.