The story of 11-year-old Yousif can solely be described as a devastating miracle.
Whereas the floodwaters here in Derna swept his whole household out to sea, the waves washed him again alongside the shore.
His legs are coated in scratches and there is a bandage wrapped round his proper foot.
“The water lifted us up and smashed us onto the bottom,” he says.
“I awoke on the ground after which received up and walked. Later, a police automotive took us to a college.”
I ask what emotions he has.
“Nothing,” he replies curtly.
His uncle, Mustafa Farash, is now his guardian and says he’s in a state of shock. He tells me they misplaced 11 members of the family and located solely 5 our bodies to bury.
As a civil engineer born in Derna, he’s livid about this preventable tragedy. The burst second dam was in-built 1973 and he says there’s been no upkeep of notice within the 50 years since.
“These dams ought to have been maintained yearly and actually have a watch submit,” he says.
“Everybody right here – males, ladies and youngsters – know that this was attributable to neglect and corruption.”
Derna’s catastrophe zone is now filled with troops commanding search and restoration efforts, directing diggers and volunteers.
Generally they’re working effectively; at different instances, counter-intuitively.
This large army presence was not the case on the primary day.
When daybreak broke and 1000’s of our bodies washed up on the town’s shore, it was a flood preparation committee that launched into motion.
A three way partnership from the Libyan Purple Crescent, the police, the military’s 166th battalion, medics and Derna’s Scouts – supported by a mass of civilian volunteers.
That they had seen Storm Daniel tear by Europe and had been on excessive alert for when it crossed the Mediterranean sea.
The top of the Derna Scouts emergency staff, Zuhair Azouz, says the committee had been ready for a flood from the ocean however, as an alternative, it ended up crashing down from the dam behind.
“Round 1,500 our bodies washed as much as shore on the primary morning,” he says. “All of us rushed to the seaside – it was virtually a blur.”
We’re standing on the balcony of the Derna Scout headquarters looking on the seaside. The water alongside the shore continues to be a muddy brown from all of the silt that got here from the highlands. That day the water was a lot darker, Zuhair says.
This metropolis has seen so much, however nothing like this.
Again when ISIS extremists over-ran Derna and carried out executions within the mosque yards, the scouts had been on the frontline.
A plaque nonetheless hangs within the constructing’s reception, honouring them for serving to to liberate the town.
As Zuhair sits in his assembly room, head scouts come to see him. A few of them are on autopilot and others in a extremely emotional state.
Head lady scout Eman runs in to hug him. She had been advised he was one of many 1000’s swept away to sea.
Her aid turns into agony as she begins to wail after which begins to checklist all of the individuals she is aware of that had been killed.
“This can be a large disaster,” Zuhair says. “I’ve 54 scout leaders which have misplaced their associates, households and family members, so they’re distraught.”
He provides that 90 lady and boy scouts have died.
I ask Zuhair what their quick wants are. The constructing has a make-shift surgical ward with a white sheet cordoning off a small storage space. There are bins with help and provides – some marked with labels from Palestine and Turkey. The room is barely 20 sq. metres.
Earlier than he rattles off a listing of medical provides, Zuhair says they urgently want youngsters’s toys and a playground for psychosocial help.
Simply throughout the road, at a battered courtyard within the shadow of Derna’s mountains, the scouts have organised a playtime for kids who’ve misplaced their households. Within the absence of toys they’re utilizing balloons, cheering and clapping to get them excited.
On the sting of the brand new playground, a small baby sits along with his head in his fingers. A volunteer is hunched over speaking to him quietly. From time to time the boy shakes his head. Regardless of the screams of glee throughout him, he by no means even appears up.
Numerous youngsters right here are actually orphaned.