Libya’s Eastern Govt Delays Derna Reconstruction Meeting

 A view shows the destruction, in the aftermath of the floods in Derna, Libya September 30, 2023. (Reuters)
A view shows the destruction, in the aftermath of the floods in Derna, Libya September 30, 2023. (Reuters)
TT

Libya’s Eastern Govt Delays Derna Reconstruction Meeting

 A view shows the destruction, in the aftermath of the floods in Derna, Libya September 30, 2023. (Reuters)
A view shows the destruction, in the aftermath of the floods in Derna, Libya September 30, 2023. (Reuters)

Libya's eastern authorities said Sunday they had postponed a reconstruction conference for the flood-hit city of Derna that had been planned for October 10.

The event was put off until November 1-2 to "offer time for the submission of effective studies and projects" for the reconstruction effort, the committee charged with planning the meeting said in a statement.

The divided country's eastern administration last month invited the "international community" to attend the conference in Derna, the coastal city where a September 10-11 flash flood devastated large areas and killed thousands.

The authorities later said the conference would draw in international companies. On Sunday, the committee said the postponed event would be held in both Derna and the eastern city of Benghazi.

According to Saqr al-Jibani, head of the organizing committee, the decision to hold off on the event followed requests by mayors of affected communities as well as business representatives who had expressed interest in attending.

The North African country has been wracked by years of fighting and chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed veteran ruler Moammar al-Gaddafi in 2011.

Libya is now split between Tripoli-based Government of National Unity in the west, and the one in the disaster-stricken east.

'Predictable setback'

The United States on Friday called on Libyans to set aside their political differences and agree on a framework to channel aid to eastern towns.

"We urge Libyan authorities now to form such unified structures -- rather than launching separate efforts -- that represent the Libyan people without delay," US special envoy Richard Norland said in a statement.

Despite a wave of nationwide solidarity since the flood, there has been no show of support for the proposed conference from the GNU of Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah.

Jalel Harchaoui, a Libya specialist at the Royal United Services Institute, on Sunday said the eastern authorities were facing a "largely predictable setback", adding that "they will have no choice but to somehow work with the Tripoli authorities".

The speaker of the eastern-based parliament, Aguila Saleh, welcomed on Saturday officials from Libya's west and south and reiterated a call for a unified government and nationwide presidential elections, according to a video published by his spokesman Abdallah Bliheg.

On Wednesday, the eastern authorities had announced the creation of a fund for the reconstruction of Derna and other areas affected by the flooding.

They did not indicate how the new fund would be financed, but the parliament has already allocated 10 billion dinars ($2 billion) for reconstruction.

The GNU announced on Sunday it had allocated 92 million dinars for the maintenance of 117 schools and educational institutions damaged by the flood.

It said classes had resumed in 15 affected municipalities in the east.

According to the latest toll announced by the eastern authorities on Tuesday, at least 3,893 people died in the disaster.

International aid groups have said 10,000 or more people may be missing.



Lebanon: Israeli Strike in Tyr Kills Two Women, Injures 19

Border fence between Lebanon and Israel (AFP)
Border fence between Lebanon and Israel (AFP)
TT

Lebanon: Israeli Strike in Tyr Kills Two Women, Injures 19

Border fence between Lebanon and Israel (AFP)
Border fence between Lebanon and Israel (AFP)

In the early hours of Friday, an Israeli strike on a building east of the port city of Tyr left two civilian women dead and more than a dozen wounded, many of them children, according to two Lebanese security sources.
Asked about the incident, the Israeli military said it was looking into it.
Lebanon’s An-Nahar newspaper named the victims, noting that one of the women was a paramedic of Al Risala Association for Health Care.
"Israeli media said the strike was an assassination mission", the newspaper quoted sources close to Hezbollah as saying.
The victims and the injured were civilians, added the sources, noting that rescue operations continue to pull survivors from under the rubble.
Hezbollah said in a statement earlier that it had fired volleys of Katyusha and Falaq rockets at six Israeli military locations. Its Al-Manar television reported more than 100 rockets fired at once.