In the hard-hit Mediterranean coastal city of Derna, where most of the more than 3,300 deaths have been recorded since Storm Daniel hit on September 10, hundreds of people took to the streets on Monday to demand accountability.
The demonstrators chanted angry slogans against the eastern-based parliament speaker Aguila Saleh, calling him "The enemy of God" and shouting "Thieves and traitors must hang."
Oil-rich Libya was torn by more than a decade of war and chaos after a 2011 NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and killing of dictator Moamer Kadhafi.
Saleh's administration, backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar, controls Libya's disaster-hit east, while a United Nations-backed and nominally interim government in Tripoli is in power in the west.
"The people want parliament to fall," chanted the protesters in Derna before vandalizing and torching the mayor's house.
The mayor, Abdulmonem al-Ghaithi, was sacked shortly afterwards in a move that "makes sense," according to Jalel Harchaoui, a Libya expert at British think-tank the Royal United Services Institute.
The authorities' action against Ghaithi, who residents blame for failing to warn them in time, also sends a message considering he is Aguila's nephew, Harchaoui told AFP.
Parts of Derna, a city of 100,000 residents, have been almost entirely erased as two dams burst under the pressure of torrential rains caused by Storm Daniel. Thousands of people are still considered missing.
'Fury could spread'
Over social media, users have also pinned the blame on Haftar, whose forces seized Derna in 2018, as well as his children who have assumed new key roles since the tragedy struck.
The Haftars are "making a big, bold bet where they have a lot to lose but could also gain power," Harchaoui said.
One son, General Saddam Haftar, was appointed head of the authorities' crisis centre a day after the flood hit. He has since appeared in public multiple times, overseeing operations in Derna.
His older brother, Elseddiq Haftar, has embarked on a European tour, giving media interviews where he highlights his father's "wisdom" in responding to the crisis.
Experts and internet users said on Tuesday the Haftars have cut communications in Derna and ordered journalists to leave the city, a day after the protest received significant media attention.
"(The) fury in Derna ... could potentially spread to other Libyan cities," Wolfram Lacher, a Libya specialist at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, said on X, formerly Twitter.
Focused for now on the leader of parliament, the residents' anger "could soon target others," said Lacher.
But other observers have said a major shift in Libya's current political system or a leadership reshuffle on the heels of the flood were unlikely.
"This crisis allows Libyan politicians to maintain the status quo," said Libya expert Claudia Gazzini of the International Crisis Group.
The current situation "seems to indicate that we will stay in an impasse with two rival governments which are without a doubt collaborating behind the scenes ... but without a real show of political unity," Gazzini told AFP.
According to her, the Derna disaster provides both governments with an excuse to keep delaying national elections, which the United Nations and Western governments have repeatedly called for, and remain in power.
"Now, even the U.N. no longer says anything (about elections) because on the ground they would tell them they first have to manage the emergency, and then reconstruction," said Gazzini.
Harchaoui said the political implications of the flood could benefit the Tripoli-based Prime Minister Abdelhamid Dbeibah, with any foreign talk of elections now effectively muted.
It "will prevent the establishment of a new government in Tripoli," he said.
With popular discontent rife, Khalifa Haftar "seems keen to cast the spotlight on Saleh," the parliament speaker, said Anas El Gomati of the Sadeq Institute think-tank.
He told AFP such a move may help the military leader divert "attention from his role" in the crisis.
"Derna's protests are the entire nation's political pulse right now," El Gomati told AFP.
"The authorities responsible for the disaster sense this beat, and their anxiety is rising as they scramble to throw each other under the bus."