More than 100 Syrians dead in Libya flood: monitor

Tuesday, Sep 19, 2023

BEIRUT: More than 100 Syrians, including entire families, died in flash flooding that killed thousands in Libya´s eastern city of Derna last week, a war monitor said.

Thousands of Syrians fled their war-torn homeland over the past 12 years for Libya, which has become a launchpad for migrants hoping to make the perilous voyage to Europe by sea. “In total, 112 Syrians were killed in the flood and more than 100 are still missing,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor.

The flooding has killed nearly 3,300 people and left thousands more missing as war-scarred Libya was lashed by the hurricane-strength Storm Daniel on September 10. “I lost two nephews, their wives and six of their children” including a six-month-old baby, Syrian construction worker Khaled Ali told AFP over the phone from Derna.

His nephews Hadi and Mahmoud had taken refuge in Lebanon after Syria´s war erupted in 2011, but they later fled to Libya after their country´s economy collapsed in late 2019. “We fled from one crisis to another,” said the 37-year-old who hails from Daraa province, the cradle of Syria´s 2011 uprising that the government brutally suppressed.