Catastrophic Libya flood: Death toll in Derna rises to 5,200

By Laureen Fagan - 12 September 2023 at 4:07 pm
Catastrophic Libya flood: Death toll in Derna rises to 5,200

In Libya, the death toll from stunning flood impacts brought by a fierce Mediterranean storm has now reached more than 5,200, according to interior minister Essam Abu Zariba of the country’s eastern government.

The update, reported by the Libya Observer on Tuesday, also said thousands remain missing, with images from the hard-hit coastal city of Derna showing bodies piled up in the streets and as much as 25% of the city washed away.

Humanitarian aid is on the way, according to the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity. A flight loaded with 14 tons of supplies, including medical equipment and body bags, was sent to Benghazi this morning.

A convoy of 87 medical professionals also was headed for Benghazi, Derna, Tobruk, and other communities affected by the floods that arrived with heavy rains and wind on Sunday. The storm caused infrastructure damage that included the destruction of two dams, leading to tsunami-like flooding that wiped away entire neighborhoods.

“Entire villages have been overwhelmed by the floods and the death toll continues to rise,” said the Norwegian Refugee Council. “Many families have lost all their belongings and search and rescue workers are looking for people missing.”

The United Nations mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and other international bodies have vowed support, while countries including Egypt are committing resources to assist.

“The devastation is as far as the eye can reach,” said Anas El Gomati, head of the Sadeq Institute in Tripoli. “Derna desperately needs international assistance.”

Image: Libya Government of National Unity

Laureen Fagan

Laureen Fagan

Laureen is the editor of Africa Times

Laureen is a freelance journalist creating high-quality, informed content on international affairs, politics and technology. She has worked both in and out of newsrooms since 2000. She is a former paramedic with significant experience in community resilience and nonprofit community development initiatives, and maintains "a passion for action" on sustainability and climate change. She also is trained in conflict resolution and diversity, and has special interests in science and medical reporting, and culture and religion issues. Laureen received her MSJ from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in the United States, and completed additional graduate study in theology at University of Notre Dame. Follow Laureen on Mastodon at

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