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  • 1440 Daily Digest

Libya Flood Death Toll Rises

Photo by Firsthand Weather

An estimated 5,300 people in northeast Libya are feared dead, with thousands more missing amid devastating floods from Mediterranean storm Daniel's historic rainfall Sunday. The rare, tropical storm-like phenomenon—the same storm responsible for last week's floods in southeastern Europe—lost strength yesterday as it tracked east into Egypt.

The country's northeastern port city of Derna, roughly 150 miles east of Benghazi, was hit hardest, with over 16 inches of rain falling in 24 hours (its September average is 1 inch). Roughly a quarter of the city of 90,000, bisected by the Wadi Derna river (see map), was completely washed away after two upriver dams failed, sending walls of water down the valley and across the city's delta to the Mediterranean Sea. See photos here.

Rescue efforts have been delayed as a result of flooded or destroyed infrastructure, a network of aging bridges and roads experts claim have not been maintained amid the country's decadelong division into rival east and west governments. See an overview of Libya's civil war here.

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