Mon. Oct 2nd, 2023
Devastating Flood Kills Thousands in Derna, Libya

Satellite images have revealed the extent of the destruction caused by a flood that claimed the lives of over 11,300 people in the eastern Libyan city of Derna. The catastrophe occurred when two dams above Derna burst open on Monday, unable to withstand the heavy rainfall brought by a storm. The force of the water swept away entire blocks of downtown Derna, carrying them out to the Mediterranean Sea.

Eyewitnesses reported hearing loud explosions as the dams gave way, unleashing a torrent of floodwater that rushed down the mountainside and into the city. Satellite images taken from approximately 400 miles above the Earth’s surface show the aftermath of the storm—a thick layer of mud and dirt covering Derna.

The ongoing search and rescue efforts have unearthed countless bodies buried under the debris, including overturned cars and chunks of concrete. The death toll has risen to 11,300, with an additional 10,100 people reported missing. The muddy floodwaters have also carried away bodies into the sea, only for some of them to wash back ashore with the tide.

The flood has resulted in the displacement of at least 30,000 individuals in Derna, according to the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration. Additionally, several thousand residents from other eastern towns have been forced to flee their homes. The deluge has not only claimed lives but also devastated critical infrastructure, particularly the bridges and buildings along the Wadi Derna river.

Due to the destruction of roads, the arrival of aid in Derna has been slow, with assistance only beginning to trickle in on Tuesday evening. The priority now lies in supporting the displaced and initiating efforts to rebuild the city and its essential infrastructure.