Flood-hit northern district facing unprecedented destruction: Turkish mayor

The mayor of the flood-hit district of Bozkurt in Kastamonu has said the district has never seen such a disaster before in its history and authorities cannot do anything other than “watch the destruction” of the town. Devastating floods have hit Turkey's northern provinces days after wildfires ravaged the country's south. Videos from the flooded areas showed the scope of the destruction.

Duvar English

The mayor of the Bozkurt district in the flood-hit northern province of Kastamonu has said that the district has not seen such a disaster before in its history.

“We are watching the destruction of our district in a way that cannot be described. The chance of doing anything with construction equipment is zero. Rains continue to pour in without slowing down,” Mayor Muammer Yanık told NTV broadcaster on Aug. 11.

“Our citizens have been waiting to be saved on roofs. It is not possible to save citizens apart from using helicopters. There is a state of emergency in the region,” he said.

Floods caused by unusually heavy rainfall struck Turkey's northern coast on Aug. 11, tearing down a bridge and leaving villages without power, after some of the biggest wildfires in the country's history ravaged its southwest.

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has said that heavy rains caused flooding and that the water levels in some areas rose to four meters. 

Turkish Coast Guard Command shared videos of its efforts to evacuate people from the disaster areas. 

One person died from a heart attack in the northern province of Bartın, and emergency workers were looking for another person who was missing.

Thirteen people were also injured after a bridge collapsed in Bartın and there were power outages in 12 villages, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said.

In Sinop province, 150 miles (240 km) east of Bartın, a house collapsed due to the deluge and cars were left stranded in water, Reuters footage showed.

AFAD said a hospital was being evacuated and some roads were closed in Sinop, warning that strong rains in the area were expected to continue.

Nineteen people in Sinop's Ayancık – who were stranded in their homes due to heavy rains – were rescued by two helicopters, the Coast Guard Command said in a statement.

The evacuation of the stranded residents was still continuing in Ayancık's Avdullu village, where around 70 people were waiting, it also said.

Heavy rain also caused a river to overflow in Kastamonu, some 70 km inland, dragging cars and debris downstream, footage shared on social media showed. 

A hydroelectric power plant was flooded as water levels rose in the province's Bozkurt district. Efforts to rescue people stuck in the area were continuing. 

Turkey's north is prone to flash floods in the summer when rains are particularly strong. Last year at least five people were killed in the floods in the region.

Turkey has also battled raging wildfires that burnt tens of thousands of hectares of forest along its southern coast for the last two weeks.

The U.N. climate panel sounded a dire warning this week that the world's greenhouse gas levels were high enough to guarantee climate disruption for decades.

The 1.1-degree Celsius warming already recorded has been enough to unleash disastrous weather including the fires in Turkey, Greece and the United States.