In the eastern Libyan city of Derna, hundreds of residents have taken to the streets in protest against local authorities, following devastating floods that claimed thousands of lives in the city.
The protesters directed their criticism towards Aguila Saleh, the leader of eastern Libya’s parliament, and local officials, holding them responsible for the floods, which have resulted in nearly 4,000 casualties according to revised UN estimates.
During the demonstration outside the city’s primary mosque on Monday, the protesters issued a joint statement, demanding swift investigations into the disaster and legal actions against the responsible leaders.
They also called for compensation, inquiries into the city’s financial situation, and the reconstruction of Derna.
It’s worth noting that eastern Libya operates under a parallel government distinct from the UN-recognized government in Libya’s capital, Tripoli.
Various experts and humanitarian organizations have suggested that the floods could have been prevented had local authorities evacuated residents or adequately communicated warnings about Storm Daniel.
Neglecting the city’s dams was also cited as a key factor in their rupture and the subsequent flooding.
The protesters escalated their discontent by setting fire to the residence of Derna’s mayor, Abdulmenam al-Ghaithi. As a response, Prime Minister Osama Hammad of eastern Libya suspended Mr. Ghaithi, along with other municipal officials from Derna.