Several dead as Turkey floods inundate two earthquake-hit cities

Several dead as Turkey floods inundate two earthquake-hit cities

March 16, 2023   12:29 pm

Fourteen people have died and several others are missing after floods swept through the streets of two cities in south-east Turkey devastated by last month’s earthquakes.

Among the victims were quake survivors who had been living in container homes since the quakes.

Cars tumbled on a torrent of floodwater through the streets of Sanliurfa, where 12 people died.

A container housing two families in Adiyaman was caught up in the floods.

A woman living in the container was among two people killed in the city. Several others were reported missing. Tents in the city were evacuated.

The latest disaster came only five weeks after the twin earthquakes on 6 February in which 48,000 people were killed and many more left homeless.

Search and rescue organisation Afad said that in one 24-hour period, 136mm (5.4in) of rain had fallen in one area of Adiyaman province and 111mm (4.4in) in Sanliurfa, which saw a third of its annual rainfall in the past two days.

The governor of Sanliurfa, Salih Ayhan, said his province had never seen flooding like it and officials appealed to residents to evacuate the ground floor and basements of homes.

The bodies of five people were found in a basement apartment and Turkish media said they were Syrians.

Bodies were also recovered from an underpass at the major Abide road junction.

Several people were dragged off in their vehicles by the current of the floodwaters and people who tried to help those stranded were themselves swept away.

Dramatic footage emerged of a man being pulled out of the torrent in Sanliurfa by a local dangling a rope from a ground-floor window. A similar rescue took place at the Abide junction.

Two of the missing were firefighters, said the governor, who appealed to residents to keep well away from the moving water. A hospital was flooded and 200 patients moved elsewhere.

The rain is due to die down towards the end of the week.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is grappling with the aftermath of last month’s earthquake, is facing elections on 14 May. He has sent the interior minister, Suleyman Soylu, to the flood region.

Leading opposition figures are also due to visit Sanliurfa, and have vowed to help meet the urgent needs of residents.

Source: BBC

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