‘We saw friends being swept away’: Inside Derna

Hammoud says there had been plenty of warnings from engineers about the poor state of the city’s two dams and how several more needed to be built to halt the water caused by increasingly heavy yearly rainfall. 

“Nothing has been done since 2008 and after the revolution to strengthen the two dams,” he told us. 

The instability, poor governance, corruption and mafia-style politicking, including a network of people-smuggling gangs, have all conspired to make this tragedy. 

Many Libyans believe the bombing during the NATO-backed military campaign to oust Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi also weakened the structures. 

“Someone should pay for these deaths,” Hammoud said. “Someone should be held accountable for what happened here.”

This story first appeared on the website of NBC News’ partner Sky News.

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