Mon. Oct 2nd, 2023
Devastating Floods in Derna, Libya Leave Thousands Displaced

Residents and emergency responders in eastern Libya are still searching for the bodies of missing people after devastating floods caused by Mediterranean Storm Daniel. Satellite images released after the storm depict the extensive damage to Derna, a port city with a population of approximately 100,000.

Derna suffered the most catastrophic impacts of the flooding as powerful floodwaters spread across the surrounding areas when multiple dams burst along the Wadi Derna, a river that runs through the city. Before and after satellite images reveal the shocking destruction, with entire clusters of buildings swept away.

The challenges faced in Derna are immense, as phone lines are down, and heavy destruction hampers rescue efforts. The International Rescue Committee calls this disaster an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Hichem Chkiouat, the Minister of Civil Aviation and a member of the emergency committee for the administration in eastern Libya, estimates that 25% of the city has disappeared, with many buildings collapsing.

In Derna alone, the death toll exceeds 5,300 people. The International Organization for Migration reports that at least 30,000 residents have been displaced from their homes in Derna due to the flood damage. Other areas in northern Libya, including Benghazi, have also experienced displacement, with at least 6,000 individuals forced from their homes.

Efforts to rescue and provide assistance to the affected population are severely hampered by the scale of the destruction and the lack of communication infrastructure. The situation in Derna and other affected areas remains critical, requiring immediate international support.