Satellite images have revealed the catastrophic aftermath of a flood that claimed the lives of over 11,300 people in the city of Derna in eastern Libya. On Monday, two dams above Derna burst as a result of heavy rainfall from a storm, unleashing a torrent of water that swept through the low-lying downtown area and into the Mediterranean Sea.
Reports indicate that residents heard loud explosions as the dams gave way. The force of the flood, several meters high, descended from the mountains into the city, causing widespread destruction. Satellite images captured from an altitude of 400 miles show a layer of mud and dirt covering the entire city.
The extent of the devastation is overwhelming, with countless individuals trapped beneath mud and debris, which includes overturned cars and chunks of concrete. As search and rescue efforts continue, the death toll has tragically climbed to 11,300. An additional 10,100 people have been reported missing. The Libyan Red Crescent has been actively involved in the rescue operations.
The flood has also triggered displacement, with at least 30,000 people forced to leave their homes in Derna and thousands more in other eastern towns, according to the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration. The satellite images depict the city’s dirt and debris extending into the sea, turning the shallow waters near the shoreline a visible brown.
Critical infrastructure, including bridges, has been severely damaged or destroyed, particularly those located near the Wadi Derna river. The city has faced significant challenges receiving aid due to road damage, with relief efforts only starting to reach Derna on Tuesday evening.
The impact of this devastating flood on the people of Derna is immeasurable, and the region will require substantial support and resources for recovery.