Death Toll From Libya Floods Climbs to 5,300

Sep 13, 2023

The death toll from a violent storm that struck Libya over the weekend has swelled. It surged into the thousands on Tuesday. This came as rescue crews surveyed the damage. The coastal city of Derna took the hardest hit. A fourth of Derna appears to have been utterly destroyed.

Libya’s eastern-based government is one of two factions that control the country. It said more than 5,300 people have died in the flooding. In Derna, rescue teams had found 1,500 bodies as of Tuesday evening. As many as 10,000 people are reported missing. This was stated by government sources.   

deluge was spawned by Storm Daniel. It drenched the country’s coast. And it set off wide-scale ruin. Two dams ruptured upstream from Derna. This unleashed a giant wave into the center of the city early Monday. The exploding dams woke residents. But they had very little time to escape, and a violent flood resulted. It destroyed whole neighborhoods. It swept buildings, cars, and people into the sea. 

An eastern minister gave a statement to Reuters. The official said 25% of the city has vanished.

Experts on Libyan politics say the ongoing conflict between the country’s rival eastern and western factions have surely increased the havoc.  Dictator Moammar Gadhafi was ousted in 2011. And a dozen years of hostilities have lingered. This has led to as many years of neglect of the country’s physical structures. The current split is also hurting recovery efforts, they say.

Jalel Harchaoui is a Libya specialist. He works with the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security studies in London.  He told the Associated Press that "this mistrust" might prove even more harmful during the recovery period. 

Photo from Reuters.

Reflect: How can communities and governments help those who are affected by major storms? What preventative measures can be taken to lessen the impact of these storms?

What does the word “utterly” mean in the opening paragraph of the article? (Common Core RI.5.4; RI.6.4)
a. completely
b. minimally
c. fearfully
d. possibly
For more formative assessments, visit to start a free trial.

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