SINOP (Dispatches) – Search-and-rescue crews recovered 10 more bodies on Friday, raising the death toll to 27 from the severe floods and mudslides that struck northern Turkey.
The floods battered the Black Sea coastal provinces of Bartin, Kastamonu, Sinop and Samsun on Wednesday, demolishing homes and bridges and sweeping away cars. Hundreds of people were rescued by helicopters while 1,700 others were evacuated.
“The destruction is huge,” Kerem Kinik, head of the Turkish Red Crescent, told NTV. “I hope that the missing are safe and that the number of deaths doesn’t increase.”
Floodwaters inundated much of the town of Bozkurt, in Kastamonu, where one building collapsed and a second structure was severely damaged. In Bartin province, at least 13 people were injured when a section of a bridge caved in.
Bozkurt resident Yilmaz Ersevenli told NTV he left his house to move his car to a safe area as the waters began to rise, but soon got swept away by the gushing floods. He managed to save himself by holding on to a tree that had also washed away.
“I nearly lost my life trying to save my car,” he said.
The Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, or AFAD, said rescuers recovered 10 more bodies in worst-hit Kastamonu on Friday, bringing the number of dead to 27. An 80-year-old woman was reported missing in Bartin province.
More than 5,000 personnel, 19 helicopters and 500 vehicles were involved in rescue efforts, backed by NGOs and the military.
The floods and fires, which killed eight people and devastated tens of thousands of hectares of forest, struck in the same week that a UN panel said global warming was dangerously close to spiraling out of control, and warned that extreme weather would become more severe.