Libya Floods, September 2023
Libya, September 2023
Storm Daniel brought extremely heavy rainfall to eastern Libya from 08 to 11 September 2023, causing severe flooding across the eastern Cyrenaica Region, in particular the city of Derna where two dams collapsed.
According to the National Center of Meteorology in Libya, in a 24 hour period to 10 September, as much as 414.1 mm of rain was recorded in Bayda. The average yearly rainfall in the city is around 300 mm. The National Center of Meteorology also reported 240 mm of rain fell in Marawah and 170 mm in Al Abraq during the same period. WMO figures showed the city of Derna recorded 73 mm of rain in 24 hours to 11 September.
Initial reports revealed severe flooding and casualties in the city of Bayda (also known as Al-Bayda or Elbeida), capital of the Jabal al Akhdar district, and in the towns of Susa (also Soussa or Sousse) and Shahhat. Some flooding was also reported in Tripoli.
Later reports revealed the devastation in the city of Derna where flooding in the Wadi Darnah river basin destroyed 2 dams. The Wadi Darnah river runs through the city of Derna to the Mediterranean Sea.
Entire neighbourhoods in Derna were completely destroyed. The Libyan Red Crescent Society initially reported up to 10,000 people were missing. A massive search and rescue operation ensued. Specialized rescue teams including those from Türkiye, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, among others, worked to assist victims and recover bodies. The Libyan Government announced three days of mourning.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reported 876 destroyed and 3,100 damaged buildings in Derna; 37 destroyed and 3,565 damaged buildings in Sousa; 125 destroyed and 100 damaged buildings in Albayda; 112 damaged in al Tamimi. An additional 20,000 buildings are possibly damaged in Benghazi, Albayda and Shahhat cities, UNDP said. In Derna, over 8.7 million tons of debris from destroyed and damaged buildings required removal.
The Copernicus Emergency Management Service (CEMS) Rapid Mapping module was activated (EMSR696) to assess the damages caused by the floods in eight Areas of Interest (AoI).
As of 04 October, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) reported the death toll reached 4,333 people, with 8,500 people still unaccounted for. Across affected areas as many as 42,045 people were displaced, mostly in Derna, but also in Albayda, Shahhat, Benghazi, Tobruk and Labriq.
Image 1: Map of flood damage in Derna, Libya, as of 13 September 2023. Credit: European Union, Copernicus Emergency Management Service data
Image 2: Derna in Libya after Storm Daniel, September 2023. Credit: Libyan Red Crescent Society
Image 3: Derna in Libya after Storm Daniel, September 2023. Credit: Libyan Red Crescent Society
By Richard Davies Oct. 10, 2023, 2:02 p.m.