Satellite images have captured the extent of the physical destruction caused by a flood in the eastern Libyan city of Derna, where at least 11,300 people have lost their lives. The flood occurred when two dams above the city burst under the pressure of heavy rain brought by a storm. The resulting deluge washed away parts of Derna’s low-lying downtown area, carrying debris into the Mediterranean Sea. Witnesses reported hearing loud explosions as the dams burst, with a flood several meters high rushing down from the mountainside into the city.
Satellite images taken from approximately 400 miles above the Earth reveal a brown layer of mud and dirt covering the entire city. The flood has left countless individuals buried under mud and debris, including cars and pieces of concrete. The death toll has risen to 11,300, with an additional 10,100 reported as missing. The Libyan Red Crescent continues search and rescue efforts, as bodies continue to wash back ashore with the tide.
The flood has resulted in the displacement of at least 30,000 people in Derna, as confirmed by the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration. Additionally, several thousand individuals in other eastern towns have also been forced to abandon their homes. The flood has not only claimed lives but has also destroyed critical infrastructure, including bridges and buildings along the Wadi Derna river.
Due to extensive damage to roads, aid has only begun to arrive in the city since Tuesday evening. The scale of the devastation is immense, and it will require significant efforts to rebuild and provide assistance to the affected population in Derna.