Sixteen officials charged over Libya dams disaster

Sixteen Libyan civic and infrastructure officials have been charged following an investigation into the collapse of two dams that caused devastating floods in the country’s east.

A powerful storm hit the North African country earlier this month and two dams broke in the mountains above the port of Derna, washing away large areas of the city of about100,000 people.

Ten days ago, Public Prosecutor Al-Siddiq Al-Sour said an investigation had been opened to look into the causes of the collapse, promising to bring those responsible to justice.

Eight of the accused will be detained pending investigation, including the now-suspended mayor of Derna, who faces charges of abuse of power and mismanaging funds allocated for the reconstruction and development of the city.

Other officials at the water and dam authorities face charges of mishandling administrative and financial tasks and negligence in not taking precautions against disasters.

Since the disaster struck on September 10, conflicting figures have emerged from the politically divided nation about the death toll from the floods.

The eastern government’s emergency committee said on Sunday that 3868 people have been killed.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 4014 people have been reported killed and more than 8500 remain missing.

Two rival governments are vying for power in the oil-rich country, which has been plagued by chaos since the overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

One is based in the east and the other in the capital Tripoli.

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