Istanbul, 14 August 2021 (dpa/MIA) – The death toll from floods that struck several cities along northern Turkey’s Black Sea coastline has risen to 38, the country’s disaster authority (AFAD) said on Friday.
Days of heavy rain forced people to evacuate to dormitories and tents in Bartin, Kastamonu and Sinop.
Turkey’s Black Sea region, with the country’s highest precipitation levels per year, is prone to floods and landslides.
Dense and poorly planned housing along river beds have caused damage and fatalities in the past.
Local media showed footage of helicopters rescuing residents stranded on top of multi-storey buildings as flood water reached a height of 5 metres in some places, sweeping away cars as well as destroying homes and bridges. More rain is forecast.
AFAD said nearly 200 villages in Kastamonu and Sinop did not have access to electricity.
Over 5,000 personnel, 19 helicopters and more than 500 vehicles were involved in the rescue efforts, backed by non-governmental organizations and the military, AFAD added.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, addressing locals in Kastamonu’s Bozkurt district, pledged on Friday to rebuild homes for those affected within a year.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu called it “the worst flooding disaster I have ever seen” on Thursday.
Of the 38 deaths recorded so far, 32 were in Kastamonu and 6 in Sinop. In Bartin, an 85-year-old woman was missing after her house had collapsed in the flooding, state news agency Anadolu reported.