Last month the city of Derna, Libya was destroyed by an intense hurricane that hit the city and surrounding mountains. Two dams, built in the 1970s and not maintained since 2002, burst overnight, sending a 23-foot high wall of water rushing through the city. Over 25% of the city's infrastructure got destroyed and thousands of people were swept out into the ocean or crushed under crumbling buildings. For about a week the international community focused on this tragedy, but then attention shifted elsewhere. However, the crisis for the people of Derna did not end there, as tens of thousands remain in need of basic support; from housing, to food, clean water, and medicine.
The World Affairs Council of New Hampshire connected with an International Visitor Leadership Program alumni Akram Bannur, from his home in Tripoli, Libya to learn more about the ongoing crisis, what led to such a catastrophic disaster, and what the people of Derna need in order to continue as survivors of the flood and not succumbing to the humanitarian disaster that ensued. This conversation comes with lessons to learn for people around the world, particularly about the importance of ensuring critical infrastructure remains in tip-top shape as more and more extreme weather events challenge the systems in place.
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