Derna Authorities Request Journalists to Leave Flood-Hit City

Authorities in Derna, eastern Libya, have asked journalists to leave the flood-hit city, stating that their presence is hindering the work of rescue teams. The request was confirmed by a government minister, who explained that it was intended to create better conditions for the rescue operations. The large number of journalists in the city has become a barrier to the smooth and effective functioning of the rescue teams.

Amidst the confusion, communication links went offline on Tuesday morning. The outage was attributed to severed fibre optic cables, and an investigation is being conducted to determine the cause. There are also unconfirmed reports that international aid organizations have been asked to leave or alter their operations, although these reports have not been independently verified.

Journalists on the ground have started to leave the city. One journalist from Derna described the situation as dire, emphasizing the lack of resources and specialized companies for search and rescue operations. The Red Cross has stated that the chances of finding survivors are diminishing, with potentially thousands still buried under the rubble.

Among the chaos, demonstrators in Derna gathered in front of the al-Sahaba Mosque, demanding accountability from the authorities. They also set fire to the house of Mayor Abdulmenam al-Ghaithi, resulting in his suspension and the dismissal of all members of the Derna city council.

The collapse of two dams during Storm Daniel on September 10 caused significant damage and loss of life. However, the death toll remains unclear, with estimates ranging from 4,000 to 11,000. Officials acknowledge that a contract to repair the dams had been abandoned, despite funds being allocated for the project. The city continues to grapple with the aftermath of the disaster, as families search for their missing loved ones amidst the muddy ruins.