By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – Turkish authorities struggled to save lives as floods at the Black Sea coast killed dozens of people. The death toll from severe floods and mudslides along the Black Sea coast has climbed to at least 51, the country’s emergency and disaster agency said.
Authorities disputed reports that hundreds of people were missing. Rescue workers tried to find survivors in the troubled Kastamonu province, the worst-hit area.
Apartment buildings in the town of Bozkurt were destroyed when the Ezine river burst its banks.
Some residents in Kastamonu said hundreds more are missing, a statement also made by an opposition lawmaker.
But the provincial governor’s office explained that reports about 250 unidentified bodies were untrue.
Underscoring the difficulties to give aid was the crash of a fire-fighting plane with eight people on board. It crashed in Adana on Saturday when it was about to land, killing all on board.
Authorities say five Russian servicemen and three Turkish citizens were on board the aircraft.
The fires – which are now under control – forced thousands of locals and tourists to flee Marmaris and surrounding areas.
Sixteen people, including those in the crashed plane, died, and more than 100,000 hectares (247,000 acres) of vegetation was devastated, officials said.
The floods are the latest tragedy facing Turkey.
They were triggered by torrential rain. Witnesses saw how the water caused some buildings to collapsed.
It also smashed bridges, clogged streets with wrecked cars, and cut power supplies. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Kastamonu on Friday.
The leader also attended a funeral for some of the flooding victims.
He said: “We can’t bring back the citizens we lost, but our state has the means and power to compensate those who lost loved ones.”
And with rescue teams and sniffer dogs still trying to locate residents, the death toll
was due to rise. Authorities 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 amid the floods, scores of them lifted from rooftops by helicopters. Many are being temporarily housed in student dormitories.
Several scientists blame climate change, critical exists also suggest that interference with rivers and bad construction impact massive flood damage in Turkey.
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