Death Toll in Turkey Floods Rises to 44, More Missing

Climate change, improper construction blamed for flooding and destruction
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 14, 2021 1:20 PM CDT
Death Toll in Turkey Floods Rises to 44, More Missing
An aerial photo shows a man sitting next to a statue of Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk among destruction in Bozkurt town of Kastamonu province, Turkey, on Saturday.   (Ismail Coskun/IHA via AP)

The death toll from severe floods and mudslides in coastal Turkey has climbed to at least 44, the country's emergency and disaster agency said Saturday. Torrential rains that pounded the Black Sea provinces of Bartin, Kastamonu and Sinop on Wednesday caused flooding that demolished homes, severed at least five bridges, swept away cars and rendered numerous roads unpassable. Turkish disaster agency AFAD said 36 people were killed in Kastamonu, seven in Sinop and one in Bartin. Nine people remained hospitalized in Sinop, according to the agency. Some residents in Kastamonu said on social media that there are hundreds more missing, a statement also made by an opposition lawmaker. But the provincial governor's office said late Friday that reports about 250 unidentified bodies were untrue. Rescue teams and sniffer dogs continued the painstaking task of trying to locate residents.

AFAD said 5,820 personnel, 20 rescue dogs, 20 helicopters and two search planes were at the disaster spots. About 2,250 people were evacuated across the region before, during and after the floods, some lifted from rooftops by helicopters. Many were being temporarily housed in student dormitories, authorities said. Climate scientists unequivocally say that climate change is leading to extreme weather events as the world warms because of the burning of coal, oil and natural gas. Such calamities are expected to happen more frequently as the planet warms. Experts in Turkey, however, say interference with rivers and improper construction also were contributors to the massive damage in Turkey’s floods. Geologists have said that construction narrowed the river bed and the surrounding alluvial flood plain of the Ezine stream in Kastamonu’s Bozkurt district, where the damage was most severe, from 400 meters (1,312 feet) to 15 meters (49 feet). Residential buildings were built along the waterfront.

(More Turkey stories.)

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