Moises Saman Documents the Effects of Devastating Floods in Libya
A slideshow of images from Moises Saman's documentation of the catastrophic aftermath of devastating floods in Libya, on assignment for the Wall Street Journal and UNFPA.
Over the past month, Moises Saman has been documenting the catastrophic effects of Storm Daniel in Libya. On September 11, 2023, torrential rains caused critical flooding in the towns of Shahhat, Al-Bayda, and Marj. In Derna, the collapse of two dams caused floodwater to tear through the city of 100,000 people, washing away buildings, cars, and residents, leaving the town in a state of devastation.
On assignment for the Wall Street Journal and UNFPA, Saman documented the scenes after the storm, as well as the rescue crews and support teams in the devastating aftermath, and the homelessness crisis that hit the population as tens of thousands were displaced.
Fifteen percent of Derna’s population is said to have died or is missing. “In some cases, whole neighborhoods were carried away to the middle of the sea, along with the people inside them,” says Ahmad Algeriany, Program Officer, UNFPA Libya.
The flooding left behind a “trail of destruction of epic proportions,” Saman writes. “By the time I arrived on the scene on September 19, the hope for finding survivors had dissipated, and most international rescue crews and journalists were on their way out of the country. For the next week, I witnessed how the search for bodies continued and moved out to the sea rather than the rubble. The gruesome work of recovering these bodies was done mostly by Libyan divers, braving choppy waters to reach inaccessible areas of the coast where bodies were being found inside the crevices of rocks. At the same time, thousands of displaced families sought refuge in nearby cities, like Al Bayda, staying in schools and other temporary shelters.”
View a series of images in the slideshow above.