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Floods kill five in Turkey, leave 12 missing

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ANKARA: Five people were killed in flash floods in Turkey’s northern Black Sea region and 12 others are missing, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, adding that search and rescue efforts were still underway.

Footage from the northern province of Giresun showed floodwaters caused by unusually heavy rainfall dragging debris and vehicles along a road, leaving them buried in mud. Residents were seen clearing streets, as construction machines lifted the debris and cleared roads.

Speaking in Istanbul, Erdogan said the floods had spread to neighbouring provinces as well, causing injuries in Rize and Trabzon.

“In the initial reports we received, we had five dead and around 12 missing as a result of heavy floods,” Erdogan said. “As a state, God willing, we will overcome the damage and destruction here rapidly,” he said.

Earlier, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters in Giresun that 133 people had so far been rescued, but that aid agencies and authorities were carrying out operations to find the missing people.

Turkey’s Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) said it had sent a team of 40 people to begin search and rescue operations after reports of heavy rainfall overnight, adding that teams in other provinces were also waiting on alert.

It said in a statement that there was no access to the Dereli district through the main road after streams ovrerflowed in Giresun, closing many roads.

Speaking alongside Soylu, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said rainfall in Giresun had exceeded averages for the month of August by 1.5 times.

“This is the first time I’m seeing such an overflow and such a flood,” Pakdemirli said.” We will take all necessary measures to ensure this does not happen again.”

Published in Dawn, August 24th, 2020

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