At least 78 dead as floods sweep through homes and towns in Turkey, while nearly 2,000 are evacuated.
VIDEO: Deadly Torrent: Scores Drowned In Flash Floods
The devastating floods that hit northern Turkey last week have claimed 78 lives, according to officials. Terrifying footage shows floodwater gushing down streets, obliterating the roads.
One of the areas most affected by the flood was the district of Bozkurt in Kastamonu Province.
At one point, video shows the water pushing a large white car a few feet as Sumeyra Ergin Felek, who lives in Bozkurt, films the flood engulfing the city from a neighboring building. She can be heard screaming as people try and escape the car as water reaches the doors. The video also shows the wreckage of destroyed property.
Some 62 people have lost their lives in the province of Kastamonu, 15 in the province of Sinop and one in the province of Bartin due to floods, according to an Aug. 17 statement by the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD). Two people re being treated for injuries.
A total of 1,720 people, 323 in the province of Bartin, 925 in the province of Kastamonu and 472 in the province of Sinop, had been evacuated to safe areas by helicopter and boats as of Aug. 13, according to Fahrettin Altun, the Turkish Presidency’s director of communications.
Electricity could not be supplied to four villages in the province of Bartin, 180 villages in the province of Kastamonu and 87 villages in the districts of Ayancik and Turkeli in Sinop Province, according to AFAD.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who visited the region on Aug. 13, declared the provinces of Kastamonu, Sinop and Bartin as disaster areas. Environment and Urbanisation Minister Murat Kurum stated there are approximately 454 heavily damaged and destroyed buildings affected by the floods in all disaster areas.
To aid those hardest hit, the Ministry of Treasury and Finance declared a state of force majeure in the affected provinces, meaning payment periods for all kinds of taxes and penalties will be extended.
The flooding followed heavy rains that affected Turkey’s western Black Sea region starting on Aug. 11 The country was ravaged by wildfires beginning July 28, as well as unprecedented rainfall. Both issues have exacerbated the flooding.
Personnel and vehicles of AFAD, General Staff, General Directorate of Security, Coast Guard Command, Gendarmerie, Emergency Medical Services, General Directorate of Highways, State Hydraulic Works, Municipalities, Special Provincial Administration, nongovernmental organizations and AFAD volunteers were working in the flood-affected areas to address the disaster.
“The flood is one of the biggest disasters I have ever seen. Thus, we will carry out a long and feverish work here. We are trying to keep the morale of our citizens high. This trauma is not an easy one,” said Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu.
Edited by Fern Siegel and Judith Isacoff