Turkey faces catastrophic flooding after deadly fires

After the violent fires this summer which caused eight deaths and devastated 170,000 hectares of pine forests and crops on the south coast, Turkey is facing yet another disaster. Unprecedented floods have caused the death of 38 people, according to a provisional report drawn up on the evening of Friday, August 13, as well as numerous destruction in the north of the country.

The torrential rains that have fallen in recent days in the provinces of Bartin, Kastamonu and Sinop, along the Black Sea, have caused floods and mudslides of unprecedented magnitude, destroying buildings and bridges, and taking cars away.

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Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Twitter on Friday that 32 people had lost their lives in Kastamonu and six in Sinop. In the province of Kastamonu, the Ezine river overflowed and invaded the town of Bozkurt. At the height of the flood, the water rose to four meters. An eight-story building built on the water’s edge collapsed.

Bodies washed up on the shore of the Black Sea, according to independent television channel Halk TV. More than 1,700 people had to be evacuated, hundreds of villages are without electricity, many roads remain inaccessible.

Five bridges washed away

Rescuers were still searching, Saturday, collapsed buildings, flooded houses and submerged basements in search of survivors. Hassan Baltaci, a Republican People’s Party (CHP, opposition) deputy for Kastamonu province, told Halk TV that 329 people were missing.

Among those victims were twelve-year-old twin sisters and their grandparents who found themselves trapped inside Bozkurt’s sagging apartment building. Emergency teams were filmed in the rubble looking for survivors. The little girls’ mother, Arzu Yücel, told the DHA news agency that she left the building after authorities advised residents to move their cars to park them on higher ground. On his return, water surrounded the building, preventing him from going back inside. From a distance, she saw her daughters waving to her from the balcony. Shortly after the building collapsed.

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The stories are similar. “I almost died trying to save my car”, Yilmaz Ersevenli, a resident of Bozkurt, told NTV television on Friday. He said he left his house to take his vehicle to safety when the flood began to rise. He was quickly carried away, saved at the last minute by a tree to which he clung.

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