The floods that struck the Libyan city of Derna and the surrounding area, after heavy rain led to the breaching of two dams, have had a devastating impact. The official death toll has exceeded 4,000 but, with thousands still missing, the true scale of the loss of life is likely to be greater. A significant proportion of Derna has been destroyed and tens of thousands have been displaced, in a city that had still not recovered from the most recent bout of conflict in 2018-19.
The crisis has seen Libyans from across the country and political spectrum come together and offer assistance. But the response of Libyan authorities has been subject to criticism, with recriminations continuing over who knew what and when, and coordination issues in the aftermath of the disaster. The cuts to communication networks and limiting of media coverage in the immediate aftermath of citizen protests have raised concerns that local voices will be silenced. The existence of multiple investigations by Libyan state institutions into the causes of the tragedy is likely to lead to further politicization and there are major questions over how the Libyan state can respond to this complex crisis given its ongoing divisions.
Bringing together Libyans who have been at the forefront of the response to the crisis, from direct engagement in the aid sector to the coordination of communications, this webinar will explore key questions Libyans are asking in the wake of the crisis and what they believe must happen next.
The event will be held on the record and will be livestreamed on the MENA Programme’s Facebook page.