AP PHOTOS: Satellite images show flood devastation that killed more than 11,000 in Libya

by Madison Thomas
flood devastation Libya

Satellite imagery has captured the extensive devastation wrought by a catastrophic flood in the eastern Libyan city of Derna, resulting in a tragic loss of life exceeding 11,000 individuals. The images reveal the aftermath of a calamity triggered by the rupture of two dams situated above Derna. These dams succumbed to the relentless downpour brought about by a powerful storm, leading to a catastrophic release of water that engulfed the low-lying sections of downtown Derna before emptying into the Mediterranean Sea.

Reports from eyewitnesses recounted the harrowing sound of dam explosions preceding the deluge. A surge of floodwaters, several meters in height, surged down the mountainside, inundating the city. The satellite photographs, captured from an altitude of approximately 400 miles above the Earth’s surface, vividly illustrate the extensive impact of the storm. The city of Derna now bears the markings of this natural disaster, covered by a layer of brown mud and debris.

Regrettably, the human toll of this disaster has been staggering, with the death toll reaching a distressing 11,300 lives lost, according to Marie el-Drese, the secretary-general of the Libyan Red Crescent, who provided this somber update via telephone to The Big Big News on Thursday. Additionally, an alarming 10,100 individuals have been reported as missing. This sobering figure represents a significant increase from previous estimates by health authorities, which initially placed the death toll in Derna at 5,500.

The satellite images further reveal the vast expanse of dirt and debris extending out to sea, staining Derna’s shallow waters with a visible brown hue along the shoreline. Tragically, many human remains have been carried out to sea by the tide, intensifying the challenges faced by rescue workers. In the wake of this disaster, a staggering 30,000 individuals have been displaced within Derna, as reported by the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration. Moreover, several thousand residents of neighboring eastern towns have also been compelled to abandon their homes.

The catastrophic flood has not only claimed lives but also wreaked havoc on critical infrastructure. Bridges and other essential structures have been obliterated, particularly those near the Wadi Derna river. The extent of the damage has significantly hampered relief efforts, with aid shipments only beginning to trickle into the city on Tuesday evening.

This sobering series of satellite images, provided by Maxar Technologies, captures various neighborhoods and port facilities in Derna, Libya, depicting the city’s state on July 1, 2023, and the subsequent flood damage on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023. The calamity struck Derna and other regions of eastern Libya on the night of Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, as the relentless storm lashed the coastline. Residents of Derna recounted hearing explosive sounds and soon realized that dams located outside the city had given way. Consequently, flash floods were unleashed, coursing through Wadi Derna, a river that traverses the mountains, the city, and ultimately converges with the sea.

The images offer a stark visual testament to the catastrophic consequences of this natural disaster, underscoring the urgent need for aid and support to address the profound human suffering and extensive damage inflicted upon the city of Derna and its residents.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about flood devastation Libya

What caused the catastrophic flood in Derna, Libya?

The catastrophic flood in Derna, Libya, was triggered by the rupture of two dams located above the city. These dams burst due to the immense pressure from heavy rainfall brought about by a powerful storm.

How many lives were lost in the flood, and what is the current status of the casualties?

The flood resulted in a tragic loss of life, with the death toll exceeding 11,000 individuals. Additionally, an alarming 10,100 people have been reported as missing. This figure represents a significant increase from the initial estimates by health authorities, which placed the death toll at 5,500.

What has been the impact on the city of Derna’s infrastructure?

The catastrophic flood has caused extensive damage to the city’s infrastructure. Bridges and other vital structures, particularly those near the Wadi Derna river, have been severely affected, exacerbating the challenges faced by relief efforts. Aid shipments into the city have been significantly hindered due to the damage to roads.

How has the flood affected the residents of Derna?

The flood has displaced a staggering 30,000 people within Derna, according to the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration. Several thousand residents of neighboring eastern towns have also been forced to leave their homes, contributing to the humanitarian crisis in the region.

What efforts are being made to address the situation in Derna?

Efforts to address the dire situation in Derna include search and rescue operations to locate missing individuals and provide aid to those affected. However, due to the extensive damage to infrastructure, relief efforts have been challenged.

When did this catastrophic flood occur, and what was the sequence of events leading to it?

The catastrophic flood struck Derna and other parts of eastern Libya on the night of Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023. As the powerful storm pounded the coastline, residents of Derna reported hearing loud explosions, signaling the collapse of dams located outside the city. This resulted in the unleashing of flash floods through Wadi Derna, a river running from the mountains through the city and into the sea.

More about flood devastation Libya

You may also like


EarthWatcher September 14, 2023 - 10:26 pm

Maxar pics show Derna wrecked, need support for peeps, hard times.

CryptoEconExpert September 15, 2023 - 7:38 am

disaster, flood big prob. lost lives, many missin’. infrastructure hurt, aid hard.

Journalist123 September 15, 2023 - 3:25 pm

wow, so sad flood in Derna, many died, bad dams burst. need help now!

CarManiac September 15, 2023 - 6:08 pm

flood damage so bad, no roads, big trouble.


Leave a Comment


BNB – Big Big News is a news portal that offers the latest news from around the world. BNB – Big Big News focuses on providing readers with the most up-to-date information from the U.S. and abroad, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, sports, entertainment, business, health, and more.

Editors' Picks

Latest News

© 2023 BBN – Big Big News