Satellite images have revealed the extensive damage caused by one of the worst floods in Libya’s history. The eastern city of Derna has been ravaged by floodwaters, with entire neighborhoods washed away. Emergency workers have discovered hundreds of bodies buried in mass graves, with fears that the death toll could surpass 5,000.
Outside help has been slow to reach Derna, with assistance only starting to arrive more than 36 hours after the disaster. The health minister for eastern Libya has reported that over 1,500 corpses have been collected, and half of them have been buried as of Tuesday evening. The official death count in Derna alone is reported to be more than 5,300, but at least 10,000 people are still missing.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has reported that more than 40,000 people have been displaced. Rescue workers continue to search for victims trapped under rubble or lost at sea. Libyan officials are urging the international community to provide further support.
Eyewitness footage shows the devastating aftermath of the floods, with burst dams and widespread destruction. Apartment buildings have been torn apart, and cars have been swept away by the raging waters. Many bodies have been found scattered in the sea, valleys, and under the debris.
Survivors have described the terrifying moments when the dams burst, causing the floodwaters to rush through the city. There were no warning systems or evacuation plans in place. The destruction has been extensive, with approximately 20% of the city of Derna destroyed.
The Libyan government has sent medical supplies and health workers to the affected areas and has allocated funds for reconstruction. Several countries, including Egypt, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, France, and Italy, have also sent rescue personnel and aid.
The United States is providing emergency funds to relief organizations and coordinating with Libyan authorities and the UN to offer additional assistance. The cause of the flooding is being investigated, as concerns are raised about the ability of the dams to withstand such heavy rainfall. Climate scientists have noted that the region received 440mm of rain in a short period, leading to major infrastructure challenges.