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Libya Declares State of Emergency in Zliten Due to Rising Groundwater Levels

Wed 07 Feb 2024 | 04:03 PM
By Ahmad El-Assasy

The government of Libya, appointed by the Parliament, has declared a state of maximum emergency in the city of Zliten, located in the western part of the country, due to a significant rise in groundwater levels reaching the surface. 

The government has urged relevant authorities to take necessary exceptional measures to address the resulting situations, including protecting the city's residents from the dangers of this water and assisting them in overcoming its effects.

In response, the Libyan Parliament's Committee on Energy and Natural Resources issued a statement calling for immediate and urgent intervention by the Libyan government and all relevant entities to resolve the issue of rising groundwater levels in Zliten to prevent a potential humanitarian or environmental disaster.

Miftah Hamadi, the Mayor of Zliten Municipality, announced that 80 homes would need to be evacuated. During a press conference held by the Government of National Unity in Tripoli on Tuesday, Hamadi stated, "We will begin with a drainage network covering 5,000 square meters, to be implemented as a surface solution provided by the local council's consulting team."

Hamadi further explained that the assessment and documentation of damages in the affected areas would be transferred to the Ministry of Local Governance for follow-up and necessary actions. 

He also mentioned that the current treatment of swamps and polluted ponds involves chemical pesticide injections under the supervision of the Environmental Sanitation Office to prevent the spread of harmful pests.

Zliten, a city in western Libya, has been experiencing a peculiar phenomenon for years, where groundwater surges upwards, causing damage to buildings and agricultural lands. 

The severity of this phenomenon has increased in recent weeks, prompting families to flee the city.

Observers speculate that the Great Man-Made River, a massive irrigation project, may have contributed to the increased groundwater levels along the coast, leading to cracks in the earth's layers.