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China to start reconstruction work in Libya's flood-hit Derna

By RFI
Libya © Houda Ibrahim/RFI
MON, 25 SEP 2023 LISTEN
© Houda Ibrahim/RFI

The authorities in eastern Libya want to rebuild the town of Derna as quickly as possible, nearly two weeks after a flash flood destroyed more than 20 percent of the Libyan port city. The official death toll keeps rising, passing 3,800 over the weekend.

The authorities in eastern Libya announced at the end of last week that an international conference to aid reconstruction efforts would be held in Derna on 10 October.

But taking part in that conference could be a diplomatic issue for many countries, as the eastern authorities are not recognised by the United Nations. 

According to Ali Sidi, the infrastructure minister in Mohamad Hamad's government based in eastern Libya, China will inaugurate the reconstruction work. 

Partnership with China

"We are aware that China is today the effective power that could build bridges, infrastructure and roads in a very short time," Sidi told RFI.

According to the minister, China is financing a $30 billion dollars (€28 billion) project in Libya to build metros through the BFA consortium

"In reality, this is exclusive information that nobody knows except my ministry and the parties involved in the agreement. 

"We have received an official document from the BFA coalition, a coalition that links China to Libya. So I have the agreement to inaugurate the reconstruction of the disaster zone in partnership with China," Sidi added.

A total of 3,845 people are now confirmed to have died in floods two weeks ago, said Mohamed Eljarh, spokesman for the relief committee set up by the authorities in eastern Libya.

Officials were working with the community to compile a list of unrecorded burials as well as a register of the missing, who international aid organisations say may number 10,000 or more.

More than 43,000 people have been displaced from the city and neighbouring parts of eastern Libya, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said earlier this week.

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