NewsAfricasix days after the floods, hopes of finding survivors are dwindling

    six days after the floods, hopes of finding survivors are dwindling

    Six days after the violent floods that devastated the city of Derna, Libya, thousands of people are still missing while the human toll remains uncertain. On the ground, NGOs describe a “chaotic” situation, and call for “urgent aid coordination”.

    3 mins

    Hopes of finding survivors in the Libyan town of Derna are dwindling, six days after violent floods which devastated the town and caused the deaths of thousands of people.

    The deluge that occurred during the night from Sunday to Monday led to the rupture of two dams upstream, causing a dazzling flood – of the magnitude of a tsunami – along the wadi which crosses the city, sweeping away everything in its path. . The floods left a landscape of desolation, and a large part of the city, on both banks of the wadi, appears as if struck by a powerful earthquake, noted an AFP photographer.

    Entire buildings were swept away by the waves. Others are half destroyed, cars are smashed against the walls. Before the disaster, the city had 100,000 inhabitants. “At least 10,000” people are missing, according to the UN, while the exact number of victims is still not known.

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    Eastern government officials in this divided country speak of at least 3,000 deaths, but many fear a much higher toll. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported more than 38,000 displaced people in the east, including 30,000 in Derna.

    Read alsoWhy were the floods in Libya so deadly?

    “Aid coordination is urgent”

    Manoelle Carton, medical coordinator of a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) team that arrived two days ago in Derna, describes a “chaotic” situation which prevented the census from taking place and identifying the victims.

    “Many volunteers from across Libya and abroad are on site. Aid coordination is urgent,” she insists. “The majority of bodies were buried (…) both in cemeteries and in mass graves”, of which “many” have not been identified, especially those “brought back in large numbers from the sea”, according to her. Therefore, “people who find them bury them directly.”

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    The work of rescue and search teams is considerably hampered by the political chaos that has prevailed in the North African country since the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, with two rival governments, one in Tripoli (west), recognized by the UN and led by Prime Minister Abdelhamid Dbeibah, and the other in the East, affiliated with the camp of powerful Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

    Stephanie Williams, American diplomat and former UN representative in Libya, called for urgent international intervention. “The moral imperative (…) of protection (of civilians) which motivated the (military) intervention of 2011 (against the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, Editor’s note) is the one which must guide the actions of the international community following the floods that devastated eastern Libya and caused the deaths of thousands of innocent Libyans and expatriates,” she wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

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    She advocates the creation of a “joint national/international mechanism to supervise aid funds”, castigating a “predatory” Libyan political class which tends, according to her, to “use the pretext of sovereignty” to direct operations. help “according to one’s interests”.

    “Enormous needs”

    Marshal Haftar’s spokesperson, Ahmad al-Mesmari, reported “enormous needs for reconstruction” during a press conference Friday evening in Benghazi, the large city in eastern Libya, the cradle of 2011 uprising.

    An online petition, which collected more than 2,000 signatures in 24 hours, calls for help from the international community and the creation of an “international and independent commission of inquiry” to elucidate the circumstances of the disaster and identify those responsible with a view to bringing them to justice.

    With AFP

    Source: France 24

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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