Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023
Devastating Flood in Derna, Libya

Satellite images have revealed the immense destruction caused by a flood in the city of Derna, located in eastern Libya. The flood occurred when two dams above the city burst due to heavy rain brought by a storm. The resulting water surged through downtown Derna, sweeping away buildings and causing significant damage. Witnesses reported hearing loud explosions as the dams gave way.

Images captured from about 400 miles above the Earth’s surface depict a layer of mud and dirt covering the city. The extent of the devastation is apparent, with countless people believed to be buried under mud and debris, including overturned cars and chunks of concrete. So far, the death toll has risen to at least 11,300, with an additional 10,100 individuals reported as missing.

The Libyan Red Crescent’s secretary-general, Marie el-Drese, provided an update on the situation, stating that search efforts are ongoing. The floods have displaced approximately 30,000 people in Derna and forced thousands of others to leave their homes in surrounding towns. The U.N.’s International Organization for Migration reported that basic infrastructure, including bridges and buildings near the Wadi Derna river, has been severely damaged or destroyed.

Additionally, the flood has left the shallow waters of Derna’s coastline visibly brown due to the vast amount of dirt and debris carried out to sea. Rescue workers have observed that bodies washed out to sea have been returned to the shore by the tide.

Recovery efforts have been hindered by the extensive damage to roads. Aid has only started to reach the city since Tuesday evening. The situation remains critical as authorities work to provide assistance and locate missing individuals.