© Reuters. A view shows partially collapsed buildings when the area was hit by flash floods that swept through cities in Turkey’s Black Sea region in the town of Bozkurt in Kastamonu Province, Turkey on August 14, 2021. REUTERS / Bulent Usta
By Mehmet Emin Caliskan and Bülent Usta
BOZKURT, Turkey (Reuters) – Families of those missing after Turkey’s worst flooding in years anxiously watched rescue teams raid buildings on Saturday, fearing that the raging torrent could further increase the death toll.
At least 44 people died in the flooding in the northern Black Sea region, the second natural disaster to hit the country this month.
Reuters drone footage showed massive damage in the flood-affected Black Sea city of Bozkurt, where rescue workers searched demolished buildings.
Thirty-six people died as a result of flooding in the Kastamonu district, which includes Bozkurt, and another seven people died in Sinop and one in Bartin, the Directorate of Disaster and Emergency Management (AFAD) said.
10 people are said to be buried in a collapsed building on the bank of the swollen river. The rapid flooding seemed to have washed away the foundations of several other apartment blocks.
Relatives of the missing, desperate for news, were nearby.
“This is unprecedented. There is no electricity. The cell phones were dead. There was no reception. They couldn’t receive messages from anyone,” said Ilyas Kalabalik, a 42-year-old resident.
“We had no idea whether the water was rising or not, whether it was flooding the building or not. We just waited like that. Our wives and children were in a panic. When the sun rose that morning, we saw police officers took us out of the building and threw us into a gas station. “
Kalabalik was surrounded by residents asking each other if anyone had any news about missing people.
“My aunt’s children are there. My aunt is missing. Her husband is missing. Her twin grandchildren are missing. The caretaker’s wife is missing along with her two children,” Kalabalik told Reuters.
The floods wreaked havoc in the northern provinces just as authorities announced that forest fires that raged for two weeks in the southern coastal regions were being brought under control.
In a village near Bozkurt, about 45 cm (18 inches) of rain fell in less than three days.
Masses of water hurled dozens of cars and heaps of rubble over the streets, destroyed bridges, blocked roads and cut off electricity from hundreds of villages.
The small town of Bozkurt is located in a valley on the banks of the Ezine River in Kastamonu Province, 2.5 km from the Black Sea.
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