Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023
Floods Devastate Libyan Port of Derna

Satellite images reveal the extensive damage caused by floods in the port city of Derna, Libya. Storm Daniel brought heavy rains that caused two dams to burst, resulting in flash floods that destroyed bridges, streets, and entire communities. The devastation has left thousands of people missing or dead.

The Wadi Derna riverbed, which is typically dry, was overwhelmed by torrents of water and debris. This resulted in the collapse of a series of bridges that linked the port area to the western side of the city. Entire blocks of buildings, including residential complexes, government buildings, and a large mosque, were swept away by the powerful waters.

In the nearby neighborhood of Al-Eilwa, approximately 96% of properties were flooded. Many properties located near the river have completely disappeared, leaving only their foundations visible. Additionally, a major coastal road near the port has collapsed into the sea.

Analysis of satellite images indicates that more than 2,200 buildings were exposed to the rushing floodwaters, with at least six bridges being damaged. The UN reports that severely affected neighborhoods such as Al-Bilad and Al-Maghar, located on either side of the river, also housed healthcare facilities used by residents from across the city.

It is estimated that between 18,000 and 20,000 people may have died due to the destruction caused by the floods, and thousands more have been injured or remain missing. Many survivors are left without homes to live in.

Hamad Shalawi, a former local official and member of the disaster committee, describes the city as being completely destroyed in seconds, with entire families killed as residential buildings were swept away. The geography of Derna has drastically changed, with approximately half of the city now submerged in the sea.

Community facilities, including buildings near Darnes Football Club’s home ground, have been either destroyed or covered in mud and debris. The road to recovery for Derna will be long and challenging as its residents begin to rebuild their shattered lives.