Death toll mounts as floods devastate Turkey

Published : August 13, 2021 15:14 IST

Authorites said on Friday that the death toll has risen as Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan prepares to visit the affected areas. Photo: Ibrahim Yozoglu/AP

Flash flooding and mudslides have claimed at least 27 lives in northern Turkey. Meteorologists say that the region may not be out of the woods just yet.

As many as 27 people have died in flash flooding that swept through Turkey's Black Sea region, the country's disasters agency said on August 13. Twenty-five people died as a result of the floods in the province of Kastamonu and another two people died in Sinop, the Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) said.

The same area was hit by similar flooding last year. The floods, the second natural disaster to strike Turkey this month, wreaked chaos throughout a number of northern provinces over the past two days.

The country has already been battling wildfires on its southern coastline, prompting the E.U. to send assistance. At least three cities have been affected, with emergency agencies having to evacuate more than 1,700 people from the Bartin, Kastamonu and Sinop provinces.

Homes, bridges, and cars have also been swept away. Power infrastructure has also been damaged, leaving about 330 villages without electricity.

Emergency services scrambled

Turkish Pesident Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who canceled celebrations marking his ruling party's 20th anniversary, is set to travel to the area. He said late Thursday that at least 4,500 personnel, 19 helicopters and 24 boats were involved in the search-and-rescue operation.

The country's disaster agency said the bodies of victims had been recovered in Kastamonu and Sinop. Local broadcaster NTV showed dramatic footage of a building collapsing along a river in Kastamonu.

In Bartin province, at least 13 people were injured when a bridge collapsed. Army helicopters helped airlift dozens of trapped residents to safety. Many of the affected areas have been left without power and infrastructure has been damaged. The region is prone to heavy rain at this time of the year.

Just last month, at least six people were killed in the coastal province of Rize which is also along the Black Sea.

Floods and fires, a dual challenge

Meteorologists are predicting there will be more bad weather arriving ahead of the weekend. The deluge has come in the wake of what the government says are the worst fires in the country's history. Wildfires had been tearing through southwest Turkey laying waste to vast tracts of land. At least eight people were killed in the fires since July 28. Firefighters managed to bring some 275 fires under control.

Antalya and Mugla were some of the worst hit cities, although 53 of Turkey's provinces were affected.

kb,jf/dj (AP, dpa, Reuters)