Libya : Between the effects of the disaster and the hope of restoring life Libya : Between the effects of the disaster and the hope of restoring life

Libya : Between the effects of the disaster and the hope of restoring life

Libya : Between the effects of the disaster and the hope of restoring life

Residents of the Libyan city of Derna, which was struck by catastrophic floods that wiped out its landmarks and displaced its people, are living extremely difficult days, between grief for those who have passed away and hope of finding missing loved ones, in addition to attempts to adapt to a new life.

Muhammad Badr is busy cleaning his house, which is drowned in mud and soil. He stops to enumerate the names of the families of his neighbors and relatives. He knows nothing about their fate since the devastating floods that swept away large parts of the city of Derna in eastern Libya.

He came to the house with a team of six workers trying to save what was left of the house's furniture and personal belongings, after he miraculously escaped death. The 23-year-old young man, whose hands and clothes were stained with mud, told Agence France-Presse: “The Bouzid family, the Fachiani family, the Khalidi family, they are entire families, and none of them are left.”

On the roof, where he moved a few pieces of his home’s furniture and his family’s belongings, he goes back with emotion to the hours during which he was surrounded by water on the night of September 10. He says: “I heard a lot of screaming. There are neighbors of mine who screamed to death. The world was dark, and there was no one.” "To help them.

He confirms that he lived that night “more than one nightmare,” adding: “My brother died after bleeding for hours due to an injury to his arm where something fell,” without anyone being able to help him. When the waters invaded the family home, Muhammad Badr clung to the air conditioner, and the water kept rising, so he only had a distance of about half a meter to keep his head out of the water. But the air conditioner was soon torn out of its place, and he nearly drowned before a sofa that was floating next to him turned into his lifeboat. He held on to it for hours before the room's window glass broke and the water level began to drop.

On the walls of the house, traces of the level reached by the water are still clearly visible in the upper rooms.

His parents, his sister-in-law and their three children also survived, but he has not heard from many of his relatives.

He narrates that there is no trace of 32 people from his uncles and their families, whose “bodies have not yet been found because the building (in which they lived) is still close together,” adding: “Their bodies may have been found, but no one has identified them, as the body does not return.” “Features are defined after the passage of time.”

A strong storm struck eastern Libya on the night of September 10, accompanied by heavy rains that caused the collapse of two dams at the top of Derna, leading to a tsunami-like flow of water in a generally dry riverbed that swept across large areas, sweeping away buildings and bridges in its path and causing at least 3,351 deaths, in the latest incident. A provisional official tally by the authorities of eastern Libya, while there are still thousands missing.

In the first days after the disaster, relief teams and volunteers who found the bodies of flood victims sometimes put them in bags and buried them in mass graves without identifying them, according to some reports.

“Who turns people away?”

Badr is trying to salvage what might still be usable from his home. On the roof, there were sofas and cushions, clothes and a treadmill, in addition to lamps, wooden tables, plastic chairs, carpets, curtains and electrical appliances. He says: “God knows if it is working,” adding that he is trying to find “items and documents that must be removed” from the place.

Muhammad Badr is not the only one waiting to know the fate of his acquaintances and relatives.

Elsewhere in Derna, in a modest “break” he set up to provide drinking water and refreshments to relief personnel in the city, Mahmoud Irqiq’s tears (50 years old) did not dry as he spoke of the loss of his neighbors whom he had known for 50 years.

In turn, he lists families about which no news has been heard: “The Al-Karraz family, the Bushtila family, the Gharyani family, the Sneidel family, the Al-Tashani family...”

He says that he recovered 20 bodies from his neighborhood “on the first day (after the floods),” explaining that everyone who survived was contributing to the search operation, but that recovery “from under the rubble requires specialists.”

Many of those interviewed by Agence France-Presse in Derna say that bodies are everywhere, under the destroyed buildings, or perhaps under the soil that has turned entire neighborhoods into empty spaces. In some neighborhoods, there is a stench that medics and residents say is likely coming from these bodies.

Mahmoud Irqiq's house, which is located on a high floor, was not damaged, but he showed the Agence France-Presse team his "source of livelihood": a lathe workshop that was completely destroyed.

During the break, Miloud Buserteh (40 years old) is drinking tea, while the shock is still evident on his face. He says he lost 25 members of his family. He added: "My building collapsed and there were 25 people in it who all died. May God have mercy on them. This is in my building only, but I have my uncle and other relatives who numbered up to 70 who died."

The man, who was not at home at the time of the disaster, adds: “We still have missing people. We buried the bodies we found.” In search of these missing people, he stays with the rescue teams, “and whenever they find a body, we come and open the bag, but now there are no recognizable features.”

In one of the most affected neighborhoods in Derna, a group of young Libyan volunteers are contributing to efforts to search for missing persons, including Tariq Dhaifullah, who came from the city of Tobruk, which is about two hundred kilometers from Derna.

He told Agence France-Presse: “We contribute to this campaign and search for our missing brothers and those under the rubble, and we try to recover the bodies, so that we do not remain in the confusion we are living in now.”

Muhammad Badr calls for providing housing for people whose homes were destroyed. He says: “There are people who do not know where to go,They no longer have relatives now, where do they go?”

Then he continues sadly: “All of Derna is gone, and even if Derna returns, who will stop the people?”



Morocco : Life gradually returns to normal and support continues for the affected areas

Life is gradually returning to normal in the areas affected by the earthquake that struck Morocco a few days ago, while support operations continue in some affected areas.

Life has gradually begun to return to normal in the affected areas, such as the cities of Amizmiz, Tahanaout, Ouarzat, the town of Adassil and its neighboring villages in the north of the country, after the devastating earthquake that struck the Kingdom on September 8.

On Wednesday, the Moroccan authorities and non-governmental bodies continued the process of erecting tents and equipping camp sites with the necessary equipment.

Rescue operations continued in some affected areas, in addition to distributing tents and aid to those affected.

Some camps were equipped with health facilities, drinking water, and electricity, while non-governmental organizations prepared tents for doctors or for prayer.

The Moroccan Ministry of Health stated that it "treated more than 16,000 cases since the first day of the earthquake, through about 10,000 mobile health units."

The Ministry confirmed in a blog post on its official Facebook page on Tuesday that “the number of infected people currently in hospitals is estimated at 375 cases, 54 of whom are in intensive care departments.”

The process of inventorying the homes that collapsed completely or partially due to the earthquake continues, in preparation for helping their owners by granting them financing.

Eyewitnesses reported that a number of students enrolled for the third day in tents prepared for study in the affected areas, while about 6,000 students were transferred to educational institutions in the city of Marrakesh (north).

On September 8, an earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale struck several major Moroccan cities, such as the capital, Rabat, Casablanca, Meknes, Fez, and Marrakesh (north), and Agadir and Taroudant (centre).

According to the latest data from the Ministry of Interior, the earthquake resulted in 2,946 deaths and 6,125 injuries, in addition to major material destruction.

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