The northeastern city of Derna in Libya has experienced catastrophic damage due to Storm Daniel. Two dams collapsed, resulting in entire neighborhoods being washed away and buildings being destroyed. Before and after satellite images depict the extent of the devastation, with roads submerged and debris swept into the sea. The city of Derna has been the hardest hit by the storm, and over 2,000 bodies have been found amidst the wreckage. The interior ministry of Libya’s eastern government fears that the death toll may rise to 5,300.
Local officials have expressed concerns that there are still many missing individuals who may have perished. The Wadi Derna river, which passes through the city, experienced flooding as a result of the storm. Despite being generally dry throughout the year, the river occasionally floods during rainfall. On the night of the storm, residents reported hearing explosions before realizing that the dams had collapsed.
Efforts are underway to recover additional bodies from the streets and debris in Derna. Rescue teams are working tirelessly, with bodies even being retrieved from the sea and buried in mass graves. The devastation highlights the intensity of the storm and the vulnerability of Libya, which has been affected by years of political turmoil and a lack of infrastructure and public services.
The division of the country into rival governments has contributed to neglect in many areas, including roads and public services. The destruction of access roads in Derna has impeded the arrival of international rescue teams and humanitarian aid. Local emergency crews, including military personnel, volunteers, and residents, are actively searching for the deceased. Bulldozers are being used to clear roads and facilitate the delivery of essential aid and equipment for search and rescue operations.