Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in the Libyan city of Derna this evening. They are furious about the actions of local authorities after last week’s flooding that killed thousands of residents.
The demonstrators are demanding a quick disclosure of the first investigation results into the disaster. They also ask for a start to the reconstruction of the largely destroyed city and compensation for the victims.
This is the first protest after the disaster. According to the Reuters news agency, the demonstrators at the Sahaba mosque called for the departure of Aguila Saleh, the speaker of parliament in eastern Libya. But they also advocated unity. “All Libyans are brothers,” said the protest.
An armed conflict has been raging in Libya for more than ten years, dividing the country into two: a western part and an eastern part, both with their own governments. The government in the west is recognized by the United Nations. The affected city of Derna is located in the eastern part of the country.
Supervision of reconstruction
One of the protesters told Reuters he wants an international investigation into the disaster and “international supervision of the reconstruction.” In Libya itself, a judicial investigation has already been announced by the highest public prosecutor. The money intended for dam maintenance may have been used for other purposes.
Parliament Speaker Saleh responded to criticism by calling the flood an “unprecedented natural disaster” and that people should not focus on what should have been done differently. News channel Al Arabiya reports that Prime Minister Hamada of the eastern part of Libya has dismissed the entire Derna municipal council.
It is still unclear how many people died in the disaster. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the death of 3,922 victims has been confirmed, but much higher death tolls have also been reported, unconfirmed.
- Libya seeks culprits after catastrophic dam collapse
- Several million in Red Cross giro for emergency aid to Morocco
- Libya is vulnerable and ill-prepared: ‘Security not a priority’