Libyan floods fundraising event postponed after requests from mayors and business owners

Conference was scheduled for October 10 but will now be held from November 1-2 in Benghazi and Derna, officials say

Two men embrace inside a damaged grocery store affected by fatal floods, in Derna, Libya. Reuters
Powered by automated translation

A fundraising event set up to help the reconstruction of areas hit hardest by deadly floods in eastern Libya has been postponed, officials said, citing “logistical reasons”.

The decision to delay the event was reached after requests by mayors of impacted areas and business owners who had expressed their interest in attending, the Supreme Preparatory Committee's head Saqr Al Jibani said.

The conference scheduled for October 10 will now be held on November 1 and 2 in Derna and Benghazi, he said.

The postponement will allow international and local companies to “present their studies and projects for reconstruction”, Libya's state news agency said.

Mr Al Jibani said a website and social media accounts would be launched to explain the conference's “agenda and objectives” and other details like participation and registration.

The conference was announced last month with invitations extended to the “international community” following flash floods on September 10 and 11 that killed thousands of people in the country's east.

On Friday, the US called on Libyans to set aside their differences to allow aid to flow more easily to the impacted areas in the east.

“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.

Terrible consequences

Earlier, UN envoy to Libya Abdoulaye Bathily said the impact of Storm Daniel would have been minimised under a unified Libyan government.

“I emphasised that, while natural disasters cannot be prevented, the terrible consequences of Storm Daniel could have been mitigated if Libya had unified political, security and administrative institutions,” Abdoulaye Bathily said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Despite a wave of nationwide solidarity since the flood, there has been no show of support for the proposed conference from the Tripoli-based government of disputed Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.

Last week, Libya's eastern government announced the creation of a fund for the reconstruction of areas impacted by the floods but did not indicate how the fund would be financed.

Libya has had little peace or security since a 2011 Nato-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi, before a split in 2014 between warring eastern and western factions.

Although major warfare paused after a 2020 ceasefire, there is little trust between the main factional leaders.

Updated: October 03, 2023, 10:11 AM