Satellite images depict the immense destruction caused by a flood that took the lives of at least 11,300 people in the city of Derna, located in eastern Libya. The disaster occurred when two dams above Derna burst due to heavy rainfall from a storm. The resulting torrent of water washed away parts of downtown Derna, causing significant damage.
Eyewitnesses reported hearing loud explosions as the dams burst, unleashing a flood several meters in height that descended from the mountains and engulfed the city. The extent of the devastation is apparent in satellite images, which show a brown layer of mud and dirt covering the entire area.
The death toll has risen to 11,300, with an additional 10,100 people reported missing. Search and rescue efforts are ongoing, as numerous victims remain buried under mud and debris, including cars and concrete blocks. Local authorities had initially estimated the death toll in Derna at 5,500.
The satellite images also reveal that the floodwaters carried dirt and debris into the shallow waters of the Mediterranean Sea near Derna’s shoreline. The tide has brought back many bodies that were swept out to sea.
The flood has resulted in the displacement of approximately 30,000 people in Derna, according to the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration. In addition, several thousand individuals from other eastern towns have been forced to evacuate their homes. The destruction has ravaged bridges and other essential infrastructure, particularly in areas near the Wadi Derna river.
Due to the severe damage to roads, aid has only been able to reach the city since Tuesday evening. The long-term recovery and rebuilding efforts in Derna are expected to be extensive, as the impact of the flood has been devastating to both the city’s residents and its infrastructure.