Connect with us

Current

Floating Bodies, Thousands Missing & Helplessness In Devastated Libyan City Of Derna

It was 2:30 a.m. on September 11 when the inhabitants of Derna, eastern Libya, heard an explosion that shook the streets. The two nearby dams had just collapsed due to heavy rains caused by Mediterranean Storm Daniel. Within half an hour, a deluge devastated the coastal town.

Shocked residents say that the torrents of water covered Derna, destroying large residential buildings, and sweeping houses and their residents out to sea.

Unofficial estimates from local authorities suggest thousands of people have been killed and at least 10,000 people are missing across Libya. Derna bore the brunt of the tragedy and the toll is expected to rise.

The “sea is constantly dumping dozens of bodies,” Hichem Abu Chkiouat, minister of civil aviation in the administration that runs eastern Libya and a member of the government’s emergency committee who briefly visited Derna, told Reuters by telephone on Wednesday. “We have counted more than 5,300 dead so far, and the number is likely to increase significantly and may even double because the number of missing people is also thousands,” Chkiouat added, referring to the death toll in the region.

The testimonies from residents of this town of some 100,000 inhabitants are heartbreaking: entire families swept away by the water, floating corpses, bodies piling up in makeshift hospitals and morgues, thousands of people without a roof under which to shelter…

“The flow of water did not stop and swept down the streets, toppling houses. When the sun came out, many streets in the city were destroyed,” said Amira Zaatut, a 45-year-old survivor, in a telephone conversation.

Several members of her extended family, both adults and children, have died, she says, adding that no rescue teams have managed to enter the city yet and citizens are attempting to help one another.

Debris in the vicinity of the mosque in the Libyan city of Derna on September 12.

Debris in the vicinity of the mosque in the Libyan city of Derna on September 12. ALI M. BOMHADI (ALI M. BOMHADI via REUTERS)

According to the United Nation’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), at least 30,000 people have been displaced in Derna alone. Tariq Kharaz, a spokesman for the authorities in eastern Libya, said that 3,200 bodies had been recovered in the region.

The local government admits it does not have the expertise to deal with the aftermath of such a catastrophe. “You need equipment that the Libyan authorities cannot provide, such as helicopters,” the local deputy mayor, Abdulmonem Algaithi, said in a video, appealing for international aid and declaring Derna a disaster zone.

The internal political situation in Libya is also undermining the aid effort, as the country has been mired in instability for more than a decade and is currently politically and administratively divided into two rival governments, one based in the east and the other, recognized by the international community, in the capital, Tripoli.

This schism, coupled with violence, militias, and corruption, means that the country lacks infrastructure and services capable of either anticipating or coping with a natural disaster of this scale.

“I saw children crying as they were swept away by the water and I prayed to God to receive their souls and put an end to their suffering” Sundus Shwib, a resident of Derna, wrote on her blog from the hospital where she has been admitted. “My bones are broken and for a moment I thought I was dying, but I ended up in a place where the water was shallow,” she explained. “I have seen family members, dear friends, and neighbors pass away in front of my eyes and at this point I am no longer interested in living.”

People walk among the remains of fallen buildings in Derna on September 12.

People walk among the remains of fallen buildings in Derna on September 12.ALI M. BOMHADI (ALI M. BOMHADI via REUTERS)

“Bodies are lying everywhere”

Speaking to local station Al Masar TV, another survivor, Nabil Azuz, who is in his 60s, explained how he and his only son were trapped by the water within minutes. “We started struggling through the water while my son tried to push me out of the rooms, which were flooding.

He managed to do it, but he got stuck in a doorway and I never saw him again. The last thing he said to me was, ‘Forgive me father,’” he said through tears at the local hospital to which he was taken.

According to Abu Chkiouat, 25% of the city has ceased to exist. “Bodies are lying everywhere: in the sea, in the valleys, under the buildings,” he told Reuters.

Medical authorities in the town of Tobruk, about 60 miles from Derna, reported that the city morgue can no longer receive any more bodies.

Prime Minister Abdelhamid Al Dabeiba admitted during an emergency government meeting on Tuesday that neither the city’s cemeteries nor those in neighboring towns have the capacity to bury the huge number of deceased, and has asked his department to find an urgent solution to the problem.

But Derna seems to be facing its fate alone for the time being. The only online media outlet operating from inside the city, Derna Zoom, has stated that no rescue teams had managed to get to the devastated area as of Tuesday afternoon, due to the impossibility of land access.

Only two helicopters have been seen trying to pick up bodies floating in the water, which were sent by the Libyan National Oil Company, according to the same media outlet.

U.N. Humanitarian Affairs chief Martin Griffiths announced a $10 million aid package for Libya on Tuesday. In the specific case of Derna, the U.N.

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Libya has announced its mobilization to help the inhabitants of the city, in coordination with local authorities.

Rescue teams from Turkey have already arrived in eastern Libya, according to local authorities, and countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Italy, Qatar, and Tunisia have also offered their assistance.

France is sending a field hospital and some 50 military and civilian personnel capable of caring for 500 people a day, officials said.


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Current

Living in a surfer’s paradise! Chic townhouse with incredible floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking beach in Cornwall goes on the market for £2.75million

A chic townhouse with breathtaking views over a surfer’s paradise has gone on the market for £2.75m.

Gwel Tresla has incredible floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the surf mecca of Polzeath, Cornwall, and even has a sky hammock to take full advantage of the panoramic views.

The five-bedroom home is one of three striking contemporary townhouses completed in 2020 with high specifications and smart technology throughout and has been a successful holiday let with Latitude 50.

The property is arranged over four storeys with reversed living accommodation to make the most of its incredible beachfront and west-facing position, which means the owners will get to enjoy spectacular sunsets.

It has 2,863 sq ft of accommodation with the entrance lobby and a double bedroom with en suite on the ground floor, and four bedrooms and four bathrooms on the first floor.

Gwel Tresla in Polzeath, Cornwall is on the housing market for £2.75million

Gwel Tresla in Polzeath, Cornwall is on the housing market for £2.75million

The property is located in the small seaside resort village overlooking the beach that is popular with surfers

The property is located in the small seaside resort village overlooking the beach that is popular with surfers

The property is arranged over four storeys with reversed living accommodation to make the most of its incredible beachfront and west-facing position

The property is arranged over four storeys with reversed living accommodation to make the most of its incredible beachfront and west-facing position

On the second floor there is an impressive open plan living space with a kitchen/dining area

On the second floor there is an impressive open plan living space with a kitchen/dining area

The kitchen has a breakfast bar where the owners can enjoy a meal as daylight shines in through the floor-to-ceiling windows

The kitchen has a breakfast bar where the owners can enjoy a meal as daylight shines in through the floor-to-ceiling windows

There is a built-in-bar on the other side of the kitchen which is perfect when hosting guests

There is a built-in-bar on the other side of the kitchen which is perfect when hosting guests

On the second floor there is an impressive open plan living space with a kitchen/dining area with built-in bar at one end and a living area with a vaulted ceiling and a sea-facing balcony at the other.

The top floor has another living area/TV room with the sky hammock looking out over the beach and a bathroom. There is also a large covered terrace with built-in outdoor kitchen and barbecue.

Outside there is secure underground parking for two cars, a lockable surf and equipment store and outdoor hot and cold showers.

The house is just 25 yards from Polzeath Beach, a popular holiday spot with safe bathing and surfing and a vast expanse of beach.

Polzeath is close to the other popular resorts of Rock and Padstow and has a number of excellent restaurants and pubs nearby, great watersports opportunities and walking and golf.

The reversed living accommodation allows the owners to enjoy beautiful sunsets from the living room

The reversed living accommodation allows the owners to enjoy beautiful sunsets from the living room

The top floor has another living area that leads out onto a large covered terrace

The top floor has another living area that leads out onto a large covered terrace

There is a sky hammock on the top floor looking out over the beach

There is a sky hammock on the top floor looking out over the beach

The covered terrace has built-in outdoor kitchen, barbecue and seating

The covered terrace has built-in outdoor kitchen, barbecue and seating

Josephine Ashby from John Bray Estates said: ‘This striking architectural design, by Studio Arc Architects, delivers on all fronts, with breath-taking coastal views from all the principal rooms, and high specifications and smart technology throughout.

‘Completed in 2020, Gwel Trelsa is the dream beachfront property, offering comfortable and spacious accommodation that seamlessly blends comfort and luxury, resulting in a highly desirable family home or holiday home.

‘Situated in a prime frontline position at Polzeath, Gwel Trelsa commands front line views across the beach and over the surrounding coastline.’

Source link

Continue Reading

Current

The 11 things that make your garden look tacky, revealed by a top expert – including the flower colour that just screams cheap

A well-maintained garden may be a relaxing retreat – but it can also boost the kerb appeal and even the value of your home.

But, if done the wrong way, efforts to enhance your outside space can leave it looking cheap.

From choosing the wrong plant pots to – counterintuitively – being too tidy, the Mail’s gardening editor looks at the 11 common errors that can cheapen your garden, rather than helping it thrive. 

When tidy is too tidy

Many of us were brought up with strict ideas about well-kept gardens, with lawns neatly mown and weeds all pulled up. But that is no longer the prevailing aesthetic.

Letting go a little and being slightly untidy can lead to a more expensive looking haven. And leaving self-sown plants in summer and seed heads over winter will make your garden look more expensively abundant. Phew!

Wildflower beds with self-sown plants are now the prevailing aesthetic

Wildflower beds with self-sown plants are now the prevailing aesthetic 

Yellow’s not mellow

Don’t get me wrong, I have a soft spot for bright yellow flowers such as daffodils and sunflowers. But such garish flowers must be used in the right context.

Expansive garden beds the colour of a hi-vis vest? It’s a no. Yellow is difficult to match with other colours and should be used sparingly.

The perils of artificial grass

The quickest way to make your garden look cheap is to lay artificial turf. Used widely in sporting venues, fake grass became popular because it doesn’t need to be mowed or watered so is seen as low-maintenance and hard-wearing. But it almost always looks naff.

Plus, the disadvantages far outweigh the benefits. It is ruinous for wildlife and adds to global warming by absorbing more radiation than living grass, which acts as a carbon sink. Natural lawns allow rainwater to be soaked up, whereas artificial grass can cause run-off after heavy rainfall leading to flooding.

In hot weather, it can reach dangerous temperatures, especially for pets who might burn their paws. Plus, it only has a lifespan of ten to 20 years, after which time it is difficult to recycle.

 Soulless bare fences

Fences without greenery can make your garden look boxy and cheap. There are plenty of easy climbers you can plant to soften the feel and make your garden look more high-end.

Star Jasmine is a lovely evergreen with pretty white flowers, while climbing hydrangea is good for a shady corner.

If you want privacy, remember evergreen hedges can’t be more than 2m high, according to the High Hedges Act. Instead try planting deciduous silver birch trees with attractive white trunks and green foliage in summer when you are out in the garden.

Don’t settle for plastic furniture

Moulded plastic chairs are unsightly and should be avoided at all costs. Plus, they’re uncomfortable and topple if you lean too far back, or slice into any bare flesh unfortunate enough to touch the seat.

If your budget won’t stretch to buying new wood, rattan or metal alternatives, search local online groups to see if anyone has second hand deck chairs or outdoor dining sets on offer.

If you are willing to buy something preloved and weathered, it can often cost less but look more expensive.

Thin borders, a thing of the past

Narrow flower beds around the edge of a rectangular lawn used to be thought of as the ideal garden design, but these days it just looks scrimping.

Borders should be at least a metre deep to allow for multi-layered planting. Don’t just put them around the perimeter of your garden. Flower beds used to divide up a space add a touch of mystery and look much classier.

Gadgets and gazebos

Barbecues, fire pits, corner sofas, gazebos, over-sized paddling pools – its easy for your outdoor space to become cluttered with so many garden gadgets you can’t move around without tripping over them.

Decide what you really need and use often, then recycle the rest. Or store them away neatly in the shed until you want to use them.

Plastic plant pot horror

It is tricky to keep plants looking good in plastic containers, even the ones that attempt to imitate terracotta.

As well as the lack of sustainability, the trouble with plastic is that unlike materials such as wood and stone, it provides no protection for plants against drying out in summer and freezing in winter, and it is not breathable.

If you do have plastic pots, reuse them for propagating and save your best non-plastic containers for display purposes.

Paving the way to disaster  

Every gardener needs somewhere to sit, but this shouldn’t come at the expense of losing too much of your lawn.

Ideally there should be a ratio of at least two-thirds planting and grass to one-third hard surface. If you are putting in a new patio, consider leaving gaps between the pavers for low plants such as creeping thyme and Mind-Your-Own-Business which will also help with drainage. 

If you want to park your car in your front garden, choose a permeable surface with planting around the edges.

Fly-away greenhouses

I must confess I own one of these mini shelving units covered in a zip-up, see-through plastic smock. But after it fell over outside one too many times in windy weather, despite being tied to the wall, I have brought it in to our lean-to where I now use it as a propagating unit. A pile of overturned seed trays and spilled soil does nothing to add to kerb appeal.

Do away with dead pot plants 

Well-tended container planting can add a cheerful welcome to a garden or balcony, but there is little as off-putting as being greeted by a collection of unidentifiable shrivelled dead plants in pots.

Avoid this by doing your research and choosing plants you love which will encourage you to water and feed them regularly. Having a water butt nearby makes this task much easier.

Source link

Continue Reading

Culture

Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!