Libyan authorities ask journalists to leave flood-hit Derna 'to improve rescue efforts'

More than 11,300 people have been killed as recovery efforts continue

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Eastern Libyan authorities have asked journalists to leave the flood-hit city of Derna, a government minister said on Tuesday, claiming the volume of reporters is hampering rescue teams' work.

“It is an attempt to create better conditions for the rescue teams to carry out the work more smoothly and effectively,” Hichem Abu Chkiouat, minister of civil aviation in the eastern Libyan administration, told Reuters.

“The large number of journalists has become an impediment to the work of rescue teams.”

His comments come more than a week after Storm Daniel struck the city, causing flooding that killed more than 11,300 people and left another 10,000 more missing.

Mohammed ElJarh, co-founder of Libya Desk consultancy, has told The National that civilians flocking to assist the survivors in Derna, while appreciated, were also creating chaos.

“This help is much appreciated on the ground, especially for survivors.”

“People from every part of Libya are pouring into the Green Mountain and Derna – and while this is very appreciated, it’s also contributing to the chaos, delays and shortages in fuel that’s much needed for these areas,” he said.

“It's also contributing to the increase in prices; hotels are fully booked in neighbouring areas.”

Updated: September 19, 2023, 11:42 AM