Libya floods: Startling before and after pictures - ‘It’s like doomsday’

Image shows coast of Libya before and after flooding (Planet Labs PBC)
This image shows the coast of Libya before and after the flooding. (Planet Labs PBC) (Planet Labs PBC)

Shocking pictures show the extent of the damage caused by devastating floods in the Libyan city of Derna, where at least 6,000 people have been killed and 7,000 injured.

Thousands of people remain missing following the flooding, which saw torrential rains from Storm Daniel wash whole neighbourhoods out to sea as swollen rivers overpowered dams and toppled buildings on Sunday.

Libyan journalist Johr Ali, whose family are currently in Libya, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "They all say it's like doomsday. The screams of the kids, the dead bodies around the streets."

Authorities have warned that the death toll is likely to rise, if not double, as emergency workers scrabble to deal with the extent of the damage - with outside help reaching Derna almost two days after the flooding hit.

Derna pictured before and after

In Derna, pictured above with satellite images taken from Planet Labs PBC, a minister for the administration responsible for the east of the country told Reuters that a quarter of the city of 90,000-plus residents had disappeared following the flooding.

"Bodies are lying everywhere - in the sea, in the valleys, under the buildings," Hichem Abu Chkiouat said. "I am not exaggerating when I say that 25% of the city has disappeared. Many, many buildings have collapsed."

He added that the "sea is constantly dumping dozens of bodies" in Derna, as people continue to search through the wreckage for missing family members and friends.

Water overpowered dams

The seasonal Wadi Derna river, which bisects the city (pictured above), has flooded previously, although two dams had prevented severe instances of flooding.

However, rain from Storm Daniel caused the river to break through two dams - sending a torrent of water rushing through the city and sweeping away everything in its path.

In the aftermath of the disaster, questions have been asked about whether a lack of maintenance of the dams or the sheer volume of water from the storm were responsible for the collapse of the dams.

More flooding in Marj

Elsewhere, areas close to Derna suffered as a result of the storm, with at least 50 people reported dead in Bayda and one in Marj (pictured above), where satellite images captured flood damage to the fields and streets remain waterlogged.

While an estimated 10,000 people remain missing following the floods, tens of thousands have been made homeless in the wake of the disaster - with local organisations appealing for international aid.

A general view of the city of Derna is seen on Tuesday, Sept. 12., 2023. Mediterranean storm Daniel caused devastating floods in Libya that broke dams and swept away entire neighborhoods in multiple coastal towns, the destruction appeared greatest in Derna city. (AP Photo/Jamal Alkomaty)
Storm Daniel caused devastating floods in Libya that broke dams and swept away entire neighbourhoods in multiple coastal towns, including Derna, pictured. (AP Photo/Jamal Alkomaty) (Jamal Alkomaty, Associated Press)

How you can help

A number of charities are working to help injured and displaced people on the ground in Libya. To find out how you can help, visit:

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