By Hadi Fornaji.
Tunis, 20 December 2017:
Heavy rains and cold weather have forced local authorities across western Libya to close schools and other public buildings until after the weekend.
Municipal councils in Sabratha, Sorman, Khoms, Zliten, Central Tripoli and Suq Al-Juma have all taken the same decision. Even in those places where no such announcement has been made schools have closed because of cold buildings, flooded roads and the difficulties of driving.
In Misrata, everything was already closed because of the three days of mourning for the slain mayor, Mohamed Eshtewi.
In Tripoli and elsewhere, roads have become flooded and in some cases impassable. Some have been washed away. Even where they are passable, such as the main Tripoli highway, traffic has been moving very slowly. Homes have also been damaged. In Ghadames, a World Heritage site, the heavy rains brought down a wall in the old town.
There have been no reports, however, of any casualties.
With temperatures around 13˚ – 14˚, it has been bitterly cold for most people. Unlike those parts of the world where cold weather is normal, homes and schools in Libya are not built for it. “Our buildings are not well insulated,” an official in Tripoli said, explaining why it had been necessary to close schools. The situation was not helped by another massive power cut yesterday.
The rains continued this evening.
“At least it’s filling up the wells,” said one Tripoli resident, determined to look on the bright side.