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Libya’s Eastern Authorities Postpone Planned Derna Reconstruction Conference

Libya’s eastern authority said it has postponed a reconstruction conference for the flood-hit city of Derna to give more time for the submission of effective studies and projects.

“It has been decided to put off the conference until Wednesday and Thursday, the first to second of November, which will be held in the cities of Derna and Benghazi,” said Saqr al-Jibani, head of the preparatory committee of the International Conference for the reconstruction of Derna.

Originally planned 10 October, the conference was met with international scepticism.

The divided country’s eastern administration last month invited the “international community” to attend the conference in Derna.

On Sunday, it said more time was needed to properly prepare plans for the reconstruction project.

“The committee has responded to the valid demands of municipalities and local councils of the affected cities and regions, as well as those of a number of international companies, which are willing and are technically capable of participating in the conference,” said al-Jibani.

“This is in order to offer time for the submission of effective studies and projects that will contribute to the reconstruction process and achieve sustainable human and professional development.”

Nearly 4,000 people died in the coastal city when two dams collapsed during a heavy storm in mid-September, washing entire neighbourhoods into the sea.

Libya was plunged into more than a decade of chaos and conflict following the toppling of longtime dictator, Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

It is now divided between an internationally recognised Tripoli-based administration in the west, and one in the disaster-stricken east backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

Despite a wave of nationwide solidarity since the flood, there has been no show of support for the conference from interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah’s government of national unity.

A Libya specialist at the Royal United Services Institute, Jalel Harchaoui, said donors were unlikely to give money to the disaster-hit east, as the government there is not officially recognised.

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

On Wednesday, the eastern authorities announced the creation of a fund for the reconstruction of Derna and other areas affected by the flooding, but gave no indication as to how this would be financed.

Source: Africanews