The Libyan town of Derna before and after Storm Daniel (Credit: Al Jazeera/ CC-BY-SA-2.0)

In early September 2023, parts of the Mediterranean and Libya were struck by one of the deadliest and costliest tropical-like cyclones in recorded history. Storm Daniel brought torrential rains in Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria on September 5th and 6th before slamming down on Libya on September 10th.

Daniel dropped over 14 inches (35 cm) of rain in northeastern Libya within 24 hours, causing flash floods in several cities. The World Health Organization states that 3,958 people have died, and more than 9,000 are still missing. An estimated 40,000 Libyans have lost their homes and are currently living in shelters.

Storm Daniel is one of the deadliest and costliest tropical-like cyclones in recorded history (Credit: Al Jazeera/ CC-BY-SA-2.0)

Derna, a coastal town of about 90,000 people, was the hardest hit. The intense rainfall led to the collapse of two aging dams in the mountains above the city. The subsequent floods swept away entire neighborhoods. The surging waters damaged about a quarter of the city's 6,142 buildings. Eight hundred ninety-one structures have been destroyed, 211 are partially destroyed, and another 398 are covered in mud. The city's Deputy Mayor Ahmed Madroud later said the dams had not been maintained for over two decades.

Unfortunately, Libya's political situation has made it difficult for the coastal nation to improve or repair its infrastructure. The country is currently run by two regimes — an internationally recognized government based in the nation's capital and a rival authority that oversees Derna, among other cities. The ongoing power struggle between the two has left roads, highways, bridges, and dams in a state of neglect.

The floods have devastated Derna (Credit: CC-BY-SA-2.0)

To make matters worse, the storm wiped out many bridges and highways in the affected areas. This is making it difficult to bring supplies and aid to those in need. The situation is particularly dire in Derna, which has lost most of its roads. The city is facing a severe shortage of drinking water, food, and medical supplies.

Individuals, nonprofits, and governments worldwide are doing everything they can to help Libya. The United Nations has announced a $10 million emergency financial aid package. The EU, US, UK, and many others are sending food and supplies to help the devastated nation.


Resources:, reliefweb. int,,