Shock, anger follow North Africa disasters

The death toll from catastrophic flooding in northeast Libya continues to climb, with reported numbers now ranging as high as 11,300—and thousands still unaccounted for. People across Libya have stepped up to help, sending convoys of aid across the politically divided country and opening their homes to strangers. Meanwhile, anger is spreading about why two dams in the port city of Derna—which collapsed under the weight of flooding, leading to the destruction of entire neighborhoods—were allowed to decay. There have also been accusations that authorities ignored warnings about the severity of the storm, contributing to the massive death toll. 

Similar charges are heard in Morocco after a deadly earthquake struck on Sept. 8 near Marrakesh. The 6.8 magnitude quake has killed nearly 3,000 people, mainly in remote villages in rural, mountainous regions that are difficult for first responders to access. Rescue teams from Qatar, the UAE, the UK, and Spain are assisting Moroccan authorities, slowly transporting essential supplies, like food and tents, across difficult terrain and roads blocked by rubble. The Moroccan government has come under criticism for not initially authorizing teams from countries other than these to join the relief effort. The government said its selective invitations are aimed at avoiding a poorly coordinated response. Rebuilding efforts pose a significant challenge to Morocco, which was already grappling with economic difficulties and drought before this disaster.

From The New Humanitarian, Sept. 15.

Protesters set fire to mayor's home after Derna floods

Protests broke out in the Libyan city of Derna on Sept. 18, with hundreds venting their anger against authorities and demanding accountability one week after a flood that killed thousands of residents and destroyed entire neighbourhoods. One group of protesters set fire to the house of the city's mayor at the time of the flood, Abdulmenam al-Ghaithi, who resigned after the disaster. (The Guardian)