Three new dams 'to be built' in storm-stricken Derna

Three new dams 'to be built' in storm-stricken Derna
2 min read
25 September, 2023
A Libyan Government of National Unity official says three new dams will be built in the stricken city of Derna following floods which killed thousands.
The dams which collapsed in Derna had suffered years of neglect [Maxar Technologies]

Three new dams will be built in the Libyan city of Derna in the coming months, where thousands of people were killed by Storm Daniel earlier this month. 

Omar Al-Maghribi, the Director of the Dams Administration at the Libyan Government of National Unity's Ministry of Financial Resources told The New Arab's sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that companies had been contracted for the project.

He did not name the businesses contracted for the project or reveal their estimated costs.

Two dams collapsed in Derna during Storm Daniel, which was viewed as the main factor behind the catastrophic loss of life, property, and infrastructure in the city.

Reports suggest that the dams have been chronically neglected over the past decade amid Libya's conflict and political chaos, with the foreign company responsible for the two dams halting work there.

The Tripoli-based Government of National Unity does not control Derna, which like most of eastern Libya is held by forces loyal to warlord Khalifa Haftar.

Storm Daniel caused the Bou Mansour Dam, which has a capacity of 22.5 million cubic metres and is located 13 kilometres from Derna, to give way. This resulted in water inundating the nearby second dam, situated just a kilometre from the coastal city with a capacity of 1.5 million cubic metres.

Following the storm, a Libyan Audit Bureau report stated that the Ministry of Water Resources neglected the maintenance of the Derna dam, especially the non-payment of 2.286 million euros in maintenance expenses to the Turkish company, Bressel, in 2020.

A 2018 Al-Araby Al-Jadeed report pointed out that some dams in Libya require an equivalent of $7.27 million for annual maintenance. However, official figures indicated that the financial allocations did not exceed $364,000.

Derna, with its dam reservoirs, has witnessed at least five floods since 1942, as per a study from Sabha University. These dams, built between 1973 and 1977 by a Yugoslavian firm, have not seen any significant maintenance since 2002.