Death toll in Turkey floods rises to 44
Rescuers were battling against time on Saturday to find survivors of flash floods in northern Turkey as the death toll rose to 44, according to a provisional tally.
The government’s disaster agency AFAD said specialised teams were combing through the rubble of dozens of homes that collapsed due to the floods that hit Black Sea regions on Wednesday after heavy rains.
In the village of Babacay in the northern province of Sinop, 40 houses and two bridges were completely destroyed by the floods, according to state news agency Anadolu.
The latest official death toll published Saturday by AFAD stood at 44, with nine other people in hospital.
The tragedy came just as the disaster-hit country was gaining control over hundreds of wildfires that killed eight people and destroyed swathes of forest along the scenic southern coast.
Scientists believe such natural disasters are becoming more intense and frequent because of global warming caused by polluting emissions.
Turkey’s emergence as a frontline country in the battle against climate change also poses a challenge to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan two years before the next scheduled general election.
As the initial shock of the floods faded, so questions and criticisms arose.
Floods survivors accused local authorities of not giving them proper warning about the dangers of incoming storms.
Criticism has also been levelled at the fact several buildings were built in flood zones.
In Bozkurt in Kastamonu province, one eight-storey building constructed on the banks of the Ezine river collapsed.
Footage shot by survivors showed furious river waters flooding the streets in just a few minutes, carrying off cars and traffic signs.
The government has denied that the sudden rise in water levels was linked to a hydro-electric power station further up the river, after media reported its water-retention dam may have ruptured.
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