Trouble was looming. That much was clear.
For days, Libyans looked across the Mediterranean to Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria, where a powerful storm had already killed more than a dozen people.
But when it reached the North African nation of Libya, disaster grew exponentially. Torrential rains swelled the waters behind two dams until they burst, inundating entire communities. More than 5,000 people are feared dead, and in the coastal city of Derna, entire neighborhoods were carried out to sea, the local authorities said.
Soldiers in the flood-stricken city of Derna.
Walking among the ruins. Over the weekend, rain from Storm Daniel burst through two dams near the city, on Libya’s northeastern coast
A volunteer taking a break. The floods damaged many roads and bridges.
Looking for survivors in Derna.
A destroyed school in the city.
An overhead view of Derna.
Access has posed a major hurdle in getting aid to Derna.
Derna’s shoreline. Residents have been trapped under the rubble, officials said.
Rescue team members searching the coastline, looking for bodies in the sea.
Aid has begun trickling into Libya, where at least 20,000 people have been displaced.
Members of the Egyptian Army inspecting damage in Derna.
Residents surveying the destruction in Derna, which was hit hardest by the floods.
The powerful storm’s heavy rains damaged cars and buildings.
Retrieving bodies in Derna.
The two dams that broke were near the city of Derna.
The city of Derna after the storm lifted.
In the city of Derna alone, at least 5,200 people died, one government official said.
Some fled Derna empty-handed — “as if they were born today, with nothing,” one Army official said.
Mourners gathering to pray in the capital, Tripoli. The photograph was released by the office of Libya’s Tripoli-based prime minister.
Checking bodies in Derna.
Some victims were placed into a common grave in Derna.
Water unleashed by the dams poured through Derna, a city of roughly 100,000 people.
“What happened in Derna was beyond imaginable — you would never think of such torrential rain in a desert country.”
As Libyans struggled to reach their loved ones, social media groups were filled with inquiries from relatives of people in Derna.
Thousands of people have been displaced.
Destroyed roadways in Al-Mukhaili.
Derna was built on the ruins of an ancient Greek colony. Now much of it is in ruins itself.