Fri. Sep 29th, 2023
Aerial View of Derna Reveals Devastation After Dams Burst

Satellite images provide a stark visual of the destruction caused by floodwaters in the Libyan port city of Derna. Following heavy rains brought on by Storm Daniel, two dams on the Wadi Derna riverbed burst, resulting in a trail of devastation. Bridges connecting the port area to the western side of the city were swept away, along with blocks of buildings, including residential complexes, government structures, and a prominent mosque.

The nearby neighborhood of Al-Eilwa experienced significant flooding, with approximately 96% of properties affected. Several buildings located near the river vanished entirely, leaving only their foundations visible. Additionally, a major coastal road adjacent to the port collapsed into the sea.

The pre-storm population of Derna was approximately 200,000 residents. The city’s mayor estimated that between 18,000 and 20,000 people may have lost their lives due to the destruction of entire neighborhoods. Many more individuals are reported to be injured, missing, or displaced, leaving them without homes.

The UN’s analysis of satellite images reveals that over 2,200 structures were exposed to the rushing floodwaters. Furthermore, at least six bridges and the port area were damaged. Severely affected neighborhoods, such as Al-Bilad and Al-Maghar, housed healthcare facilities catering to residents from across the city. The disaster analysts at Reach underline the vulnerability of the homes constructed in the dry riverbed on the coastal side of the dam, as they bore the brunt of the flood.

Hamad Shalawi, a former local official and member of the disaster committee, stated that the city was obliterated within seconds, resulting in the loss of entire families as residential buildings vanished. The geography of Derna has been forever changed, as half of the city has been swallowed by the sea.

Furthermore, community facilities, including structures associated with Darnes Football Club, were either destroyed or buried under layers of mud and debris.