Hundreds protest in flood-hit Libya

Experts and humanitarian organisations say that local authorities could have prevented the floods. AFP
Experts and humanitarian organisations say that local authorities could have prevented the floods. AFP

TRIPOLI – Hundreds of residents of the eastern Libyan city of Derna on Monday protested against local authorities, more than a week after heavy floods killed thousands in the city.

The protesters criticized the leader of eastern Libya’s parliament, Aguila Saleh, and local authorities that they blamed for the floods that have killed nearly 4,000 people, according to revised United Nations (UN) figures.

In a joint statement, the protesters said they wanted speedy investigations into the disaster and legal action against the leaders responsible.

They also demanded compensation, investigations into the city’s finances and the rebuilding of Derna.

Eastern Libya is governed by a parallel government, separate from the UN-recognized government based in Libya’s capital, Tripoli.

Several experts and humanitarian organizations have suggested that the floods could have been averted if local authorities evacuated residents or at least communicated the warnings about Storm Daniel.

Experts have also said that the neglect of the city’s dams by authorities led to their bursting and the unleashing of flood waters.

The protesters also burned the house of Derna’s mayor, Abdulmenam al-Ghaithi.

Ghaithi, along with other Derna municipal officials, have since been suspended by the eastern Libya Prime Minister Osama Hammad. (BBC)

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