Libya floods: Oil ports re-open after closure due to Storm Daniel

Observers expect crude supply to be disrupted due to flooding in the east of the country

Pipes are pictured at the El Sharara oilfield December 3, 2014. Deep in Libya's southern Sahara, men in army uniforms guard a pipeline at the El Sharara oilfield. Hundreds of kilometers to the north, rival fighters turn off the pumps to stop the oil flowing. The standoff over El Sharara illustrates the complex challenge United Nations mediators face in holding together a country heading towards a civil war between factions allied with rival cities scrambling for control. U.N. envoys plan to bring the Libyan rivals together on Tuesday for a dialog, but the conflict is spreading with both sides increasingly at odds over the OPEC country's vast oil resources. Picture taken December 3, 2014. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny (LIBYA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST ENERGY)
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Four major oil ports in Libya have reopened after shutting down on Saturday following a powerful storm that swept the country, killing thousands, port agent Al Omran International Maritime Agencies said on Wednesday.

The eastern ports of Brega, Es Sidra and Ras Lanuf opened on Tuesday and the port of Zueitina opened on Wednesday morning, Al Omran said.

The closure of the ports will lead to some disruption to exports, but they are “likely” to recover once the ports reopen, Giovanni Staunovo, strategist at UBS, told The National on Tuesday.

Officials in eastern Libya say the death toll currently stands at more than 5,300. A hospital director in the city of Derna told Reuters on Monday that 1,700 bodies had been counted at his hospital, and that 500 more had been buried in another part of the city.

About 10,000 people are estimated to be missing. Many are believed to have been swept out to sea.

Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, prime minister of Libya's Tripoli-based government, said on Tuesday that the floods were an unprecedented catastrophe. Presidential Council chief Mohamed Al Menfi has called for national unity.

The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs said emergency response teams had been sent to help on the ground. Several governments, including those of Qatar and Turkey, have rushed to provide aid to Libya.

The floods since Saturday destroyed cars and left Derna's streets covered in rubble, mud and debris.

Satellite photographs of the city from before and after the disaster show that what had been a relatively narrow waterway through the city centre was now several times wider, with all the buildings that had run along it gone.

Updated: September 13, 2023, 8:38 AM