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Hope Emerges in Derna as Youth-Led Initiative Rebuilds After Devastating Floods

Derna flood survivor Abdul Salam Anwisi looks at the destroyed homes following flooding caused by Mediterranean storm Daniel, in Derna, Libya, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023.   -  
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Yousef Murad/Copyright 2023The AP. All rights reserved


In the wake of a catastrophic flood that left a trail of destruction across the Libyan city of Derna, a group of resilient and determined young residents have banded together to reclaim their community and extend a helping hand to those in need.

The devastation, still painfully evident, has persisted for nearly a month since the disaster struck, leaving thousands grappling with loss and despair. Homes were swept away, possessions and cherished mementos lost, and many lives were tragically claimed by the relentless floodwaters.

These remarkable young individuals, united under the banner of "Derna Campaign with the Endeavor of Its Youth," have embarked on a volunteer mission to bring solace and restore normalcy to their beloved city. 

In the heart of Derna, café and barber shop owner Abubaker Mansuri's businesses were among the first to be revitalized. Mansuri expressed his gratitude to the youth volunteers by offering free coffee, a gesture meant to uplift their spirits and rekindle hope among the city's residents.

"Today the café was cleaned by the Derna Campaign with the Endeavor of Its Youth, campaign. The truth is, it is a tremendous effort despite the limited capabilities. Today, as a gesture to the return of life to the city, we provided free coffee as a form of assistance and morale booster in return for what these young people are doing," said Abubaker Mansuri.

Waleed Musa Othman, a survivor of the calamity, offered a poignant glimpse into the tragedy that befell his home and family.

"The ceiling fell, all the furniture in the house was lost, along with my papers and all my things. My neighbors, friends, and relatives are all gone. May God have mercy on them."

Waleed Othman's daily routine now centers around the arduous task of clearing debris and accumulated filth from his once-cherished abode. The floods not only ravaged his possessions but also claimed the lives of many of his loved ones.

While the international community pledged support and financial assistance for Derna's reconstruction, the path to recovery remains uncertain, primarily due to the political turbulence that continues to engulf the country.

The survivors of Derna endure not only the physical aftermath of the disaster but also the profound psychological trauma stemming from the loss of family members and cherished belongings.

The calamity, as per the International Organization for Migration (IOM), has resulted in the tragic loss of thousands of residents' lives and the displacement of over 42,000 people. The immediate needs of the displaced include essentials such as food, clean drinking water, mental health support, and psychosocial care.

In the face of adversity, the youth of Derna exemplify the indomitable spirit of a community striving to rebuild and emerge from the shadows of disaster.

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