Libyan losing hope in search for missing family

10 個月前

STORY: Abdulsalam al-Kadi has been searching for his father and younger brother ever since a flood swept away whole neighborhoods of the Libyan city of Derna last month.

He came straight from his new home in the United States and could barely recognize his hometown.

This house is the house they lived in when the flash floods hit, killing thousands of people.

Italian rescuers and sniffer dogs have searched it, he says, but he won't give up.

He has scoured mud banks, asked every hospital, pored over photographs of the 4,000 bodies recovered so far.

No longer expecting to find them alive, he at least wants a grave to mourn over.

"What was difficult in the first few days was hope. People would say they saw them somewhere, others elsewhere. For us it was as if they died again every day. One person would tell you they were sitting in the garden when the wave hit, another would say 'no, I saw them elsewhere'. It drove me crazy."

Many survivors have yet to find their loved ones, even as Libya's rival factions squabble over who to blame for the disaster and how to rebuild the ruined city.

Many face the prospect that they may never find out what happened to parents, children or other relatives despite efforts to identify bodies - many buried hastily in mass graves - using photographs or DNA testing.

"A whole city is underwater, with people in the buildings. It is impossible to pull them out with the capabilities we have."

But organizing Derna's reconstruction will be complicated.

Libya is split between a government in Tripoli that is internationally recognized and one in the east that isn't.

Analysts say in a fractured nation, reconstruction and the coordination required could fuel another tussle for power.