International conference announced to aid flood-ravaged Derna in Libya
In response to the catastrophic flash flood that wreaked havoc on the port city of Derna, Libya’s eastern-based administration has declared plans to host an international conference aimed at facilitating reconstruction efforts.
The flood, triggered by a hurricane-strength storm on September 10, inundated the city, causing extensive damage and sweeping numerous residents into the sea.
The government’s announcement called upon the international community to participate in the conference scheduled for October 10th in Derna. The primary goal is to present modern and expedited projects for the city’s reconstruction, a dire necessity following the flood’s devastation. The decision to host this conference stems from the appeals of Derna’s distressed residents, as well as other affected towns.
Libya, a nation marred by divisions since the NATO-backed uprising that led to the ousting and demise of Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, has been marked by competing administrations vying for control. The internationally recognized administration in Tripoli, led by Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah, coexists with a rival administration in the east, backed by military figure Khalifa Haftar.
In 2018, Haftar’s forces took control of Derna, once a stronghold of radical Islamists and a center of protest dating back to Kadhafi’s era.
Official figures place the death toll from the flood at over 3,300 lives lost, but this number is expected to rise significantly. International aid organizations have estimated that up to 10,000 individuals may still be missing.
Over 43,000 people have been displaced due to the flood, according to the International Organization for Migration, which also noted that a shortage of water supply has driven many residents out of Derna to seek refuge elsewhere.
After a two-day disruption resulting from protests by irate residents, mobile and internet services were restored in Derna. The protests, which took place outside the city’s grand mosque, saw demonstrators expressing grievances against the eastern-based parliament and its leadership, while demanding accountability for the high death toll.
Amnesty International has reported arrests of critics and protesters in Derna, condemning efforts to control media access to the disaster-stricken city. The organization has called on eastern authorities to lift undue restrictions and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to all affected communities.
Investigations into the dams that burst have revealed that they had developed cracks dating as far back as the 1990s, with residents accusing authorities of negligence.
Additionally, a report by scientists from the World Weather Attribution group has highlighted that the magnitude of the deluge witnessed during Storm Daniel in northeastern Libya is an event that occurs once every 300-600 years. They attributed the increased likelihood and intensity of the rains to human-caused global warming, which led to up to a 50 percent increase in rainfall during the period.