ANKARA (Reuters) - Flash floods in Turkey’s northern Black Sea region killed five people, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, and authorities were searching for 11 missing people.
Floodwaters caused by unusually heavy rainfall dragged debris and vehicles along a road, leaving them buried in mud, footage from the province of Giresun showed. Residents were seen clearing streets, as construction machines lifted the debris and cleared roads.
Speaking in Istanbul, Erdogan said the floods had spread to neighbouring provinces as well, causing injuries in Rize and Trabzon.
“In the initial reports we received, we had five dead and around 12 wounded as a result of heavy floods,” Erdogan said. “God willing, we will overcome the damage and destruction here rapidly,” he said.
Turkey’s Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) said it had sent a team for search and rescue operations and that teams in other provinces were also waiting on alert. In a statement, it said that there was no acess to Giresun’s Dereli district via the main road after streams overflowed.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said 153 people had so far been rescued and nearly 1,000 aid workers were searching for the missing people. He said power was restored in some areas, but there was extensive damage to the infrastructure.
“We were not expecting such a severe scene in the area,” he told reporters in Giresun, along with Environment Minister Murat Kurum, who said 17 buildings had collapsed and 361 others were damaged.
Rainfall in Giresun had exceeded averages for the month of August by 1.5 times, but agricultural damage in the region was less than expected, said Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli.
Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Yesim Dikmen; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Frances Kerry
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