The story of the destruction of Libya’s Derna city due to floods – Ground Report
Driving from Benghazi by road, the fields appear transformed into rust-red lakes.
Telephone poles that were uprooted by the flow of flood water are now lying haphazardly. Vehicles keep crawling around hastily dug roads and potholes on the highway.
One of the bridges near Derna has been completely washed away. Local people are standing on the rough road and taking pictures.
A little further ahead, soldiers are giving face masks to the driver and passengers of every car. Every passenger and driver going in the other direction is wearing a mask. You will soon know why this is being done.
foul smell emanating from dead bodies
It seems almost impossible to describe the foul smell emanating from dead bodies in some parts of the city. It fills your nostrils. Some sewage smell, some things that are hard to identify.
Sometimes this foul smell is so strong that it causes stomach pain. Especially when you are standing looking towards the port and the recovery teams tell me that bodies are just being washed up.
That morning they found three bodies. The sea had brought them to shore. They were rotting trapped in a pile of debris.
Broken wood, up-and-down vehicles, tyres, fridges – everything gets mixed together in the stagnant water and keeps rotating.
The pictures and videos that have emerged from Derna are very vivid and shocking.
But after seeing them you become aware of how much damage the flood has caused to this place. There is nothing left on these mounds of soil. This is barren land. The destructive power of water is extraordinary.
toy cars overturned
The vehicles are lying here and there like toys. One is completely buried inside the roof surrounding the Al Sahaba Mosque. The other is completely out of the ground, attached to the side of a building.
Walls made of thick concrete blocks have collapsed. Strong trees have been uprooted from the ground. Their roots are in the air. Everything else is over.
It is not that only thousands of people were washed away in Derna, their houses, their property, their lives were also washed away. Humanity has been cleared from this part of Derna.
For those who survived this devastation, life has changed forever. There is immense pain and anger among the people there.
people’s pain and anger
Faris Ghasar lost five members of his family in the strong current of water. “We are being asked to stay inside our homes,” he says, crying. Why, they should have told us that there was a storm and the dam is old and breaking. ,
He says, “Some of the destroyed buildings are hundreds of years old.” This is all politics. There is a government in the West, there is a government in the East also. This is a big problem.”
Among those who died in Faris’s family was his 10-month-old daughter. He picks up his phone to show me his pictures. He shows pictures first of the living beings and later of their dead bodies, carefully wrapped in blankets. Their faces were showing their ordeal.
At the time we were talking, a convoy of ministers was visiting the disaster affected area. He was from Eastern Government. Which is one of the two opposing governments of Libya. Their fighting has destroyed the country’s infrastructure.
Faris claims that this has proved very fatal for his family.
problems of survivors
I asked Osama Hamad, the Prime Minister of the previous government, how could this happen when the dams were supposed to keep people safe?
“It was a very strong cyclone,” he told me. He was too strong for the dams. This is nature and Allah. ,
Rumors are spreading on the streets about complete evacuation of Derna.
Those who have survived in the city are struggling with the lack of things like clean drinking water and medical care. Nearly a week after the devastating storm, the challenges facing survivors in Derna are increasing.
This post originally appeared on www.bbc.com