At least 40 people have died and hundreds are feared missing in northern Turkey after floods and mudslides destroyed buildings and submerged homes.
Emergency teams continue to search for more victims and survivors after heavy rains hit the Black Sea coastal provinces of Bartin, Kastamonu, Sinop and Samsun on Wednesday.
Opposition politician Hasan Baltachi, who represents Kastamonu, said there were fears of 329 missing after residents came into contact. TurkeyThe disaster agency AFAD is seeking information about friends and relatives.
He warned that some names might be repeated, but the missing, including two 12-year-old twin sisters and their grandparents, were trapped inside an eight-storey building that collapsed in the town of Bozkurt.
About 2,250 people have been evacuated, some have been rescued from rooftops by helicopters, and many are being housed in student dormitories.
The floods destroyed homes, washed away five bridges and many cars and rendered roads impassable.
The Disaster and Emergency Management Authority said 34 people were killed in Kastamonu and six in Sinop, while nine people are still hospitalized in Sinop and one person is missing in Bartin province.
A river at Kastamonu blew up its banks and inundated the town of Bozkurt, tearing down one building on the waterfront and severely damaging two buildings next to it.
Emergency crews were seen searching among the rubble in search of survivors, with the mother of the missing twins telling the DHA news agency that she had left the building after authorities advised residents to move their cars to higher ground.
When she returned, she surrounded the building with water so she could not enter and watched her daughters wave to her from another building.
“We talked on the phone, they waved from the balcony and said, ‘Don’t worry, Mom, we’re fine,’” said Arzu Yuzel.
“They told us ‘Move your cars up.’ They didn’t say ‘Save your lives, save your children.’ I could have gotten them out of there.”
Bodies were washed on the shores of the Black Sea, according to Halk TV, which showed footage of people carrying a body bag on the beach.
Climate scientists say climate change is leading to more weather extremes, but experts in Turkey said interference in rivers and improper construction also contributed to the floods.
The geologists said construction work narrowed the Eisin River at Bozkurt, with the greatest damage ranging from 400 meters (1,312 feet) to 15 meters (49 feet).
The flood came like Forest fires in southern Turkey It finally retreated after the destruction of forests in the popular coastal tourist provinces of Mugla and Antalya.
At least eight people were killed in the fires and thousands were forced to flee.
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