At least 7,000 people are believed to have been killed as a result of biblical flooding in Libya as of Thursday, with officials saying the death toll could climb to 20,000, according to multiple reports.
The exact number of fatalities is difficult to calculate due to ongoing search-and-rescue efforts and mass destruction in the city of Derna, according to NBC News. The death toll is anticipated to reach at least 7,000 as more than 5,500 were already confirmed dead as of Thursday morning, the Associated Press (AP) reported, citing an official with the UN World Health Organization in Libya. Expert meteorologist Colin McCarthy reported 7,000 confirmed fatalities Wednesday night.
Somewhere between 9,000 to 20,000 people are still missing after a large storm caused a series of dams to burst Sunday night, according to AP.
Libya has just experienced the deadliest flood of the 21st Century, with 7,000 confirmed dead.
In the city of Derna, home to 90,000 people, up to 20,000 are feared dead.
25% of the city is estimated to be destroyed after two dams collapsed due to extreme rainfall.
Imagery via… pic.twitter.com/TyVdbl1jbM
— Colin McCarthy (@US_Stormwatch) September 13, 2023
People within the city of Derna said they heard a series of loud explosions prior to the dams bursting, before floodwaters ripped through the heavily populated city and region, according to AP. The waters destroyed buildings and are believed to have washed some people out to sea.
Derna is home to around 90,000 people. The mayor of Derna said the death toll could triple in the coming days, according to AP. Images shared online show the total devastation of the city.
Drone footage released by Libya’s Al-Ahrar TV on Tuesday showed the extent of flood damage in the city of Derna.
— Bloomberg (@business) September 14, 2023
Those who survived the floods have already started burying the dead in mass graves, eastern Libya’s health minister, Othman Abduljaleel, told AP. More than 3,000 people were buried as of Thursday morning, while the remaining 2,000 confirmed casualties are still waiting to be processed. (RELATED: Hurricane Lee Grows So Terrifyingly Huge, It Doesn’t Matter If It Makes Landfall. We’re In Trouble)
Videos shared online appear to show the moment the floodwaters burst into the city, seemingly flowing as a river. Footage of the aftermath shared by Bloomberg shows a wholly different city, where it appears at least one religious building was miraculously saved.