Derna: Maddened by Grief and Anger, Libyans Burned Down the Mayor's home

World | September 20, 2023, Wednesday // 12:34|  views

Overwhelmed by grief and anger, Libyans set fire to the home of the mayor of the city of Derna. Hundreds of protesters are demanding answers to the causes of the catastrophic flooding that has killed thousands of people and left tens of thousands homeless.

On Monday night, people gathered at the city's iconic Sahaba Mosque, many of them chanting for the sacking of senior officials in the eastern Libyan government.

After the US-backed overthrow and assassination of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the country has been ruled by two rival governments. In Tripoli, to the west, is the internationally recognized government.

The entire Derna city council has already been fired.

As part of the crackdown on the media, access to the internet and telephones was cut off, and journalists were ordered to leave.

More than 10,000 people are officially missing after two old dams in poor condition broke and flooded the city after an unusually high amount of rain dumped by "Storm Daniel". Death tolls vary widely, but the UN says it has confirmed nearly 4,000 deaths. The Red Crescent claims there are over 11,000.

The UN reports that one of its teams has been denied permission to enter Derna.

"We can confirm that search and rescue teams, emergency medical teams and UN colleagues already in Derna are continuing to work," the UN humanitarian agency OCHA told Reuters on Tuesday.

"However, a UN team was supposed to travel from Benghazi to Derna today but was not allowed to proceed."

The home of the mayor of Derna, Abdulmenam al-Ghaithi, became a focal point for the people's anger. Residents say they were not given enough warning by officials, who they say should have known heavy rainfall was coming. They claim they were also warned to stay home instead of being told to evacuate, although officials deny this.

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Tags: derna, Libya, floods


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