Rains flood tourist site in Turkiye

Published September 8, 2023
Uprooted trees lie next to a destroyed house as rescue teams search for a missing person after floods in Turkiye’s Igneada district. — AFP
Uprooted trees lie next to a destroyed house as rescue teams search for a missing person after floods in Turkiye’s Igneada district. — AFP

ISTANBUL/ FARKADNA: Rescuers on Thursday recovered the body of the last man reported missing in floods that hit Istanbul and north-western Turkiye this week, bringing the death toll to eight, officials said.

Torrential rains hit the northern stretches of Istanbul and parts of Kirklareli province on Tuesday, sweeping away shops and tourist bungalows.

Two people died in Istanbul. The toll in Kirklareli reached six when rescuers reached the body of the last person reported missing in the disaster, identified as Ahmet Baki Simsek.

The storms inundated Kirklareli’s Black Sea coast town of Igneada, which housed tourists in 18 bungalows.

Greece launches rescue effort in flooded villages

Deputy Interior Minister Munir Karaloglu said an investigation had been launched into safety condition at the tourist site.

Turkish officials issued an arrest warrant for the facility’s owner on the grounds that the bungalows had been built illegally, the private NTV broadcaster reported.

Rescue efforts in Greece

Greek rescue teams used divers, lifeboats and helicopters to reach dozens of villagers in central Greece on Thursday, as the death toll from the Storm Daniel rose to six.

The fire service announced that they had found the bodies of two elderly women, as well as a shepherd washed away by the flood waters.

Emergency services worked alongside the army to get to the stranded residents, while more villages had to be evacuated after flooding damaged a dam.

Fierce storms have battered Greece, Turkiye and Bulgaria following a period of extreme heat and devastating wildfires — the kind of extreme weather climate experts say is becoming more frequent because of human-induced climate change.

The downpour, from Monday evening into Tuesday, hit the central region of Thessaly, 300 kilometres to the north of Athens. Flooding affected the port city of Volos, and the towns of Karditsa and Tikala further inland and several villages, after more than a year’s worth of rain fell there in 24 hours.

Night-time rescue operation

Summarising the situation in Thessaly, Civil Protection and Climate Crisis Minister Vassilis Kikilias told reporters that some 67 people had been rescued from the villages near Karditsa.

“Rescuers and rescue boats and all available teams with artificial lighting will continue house-to-house rescues in the stranded villages during the night,” he said.

Operations were complicated because of a breached dam between Trikala and Karditsa, along a tributary of the flooded River Pinios. While 10 helicopters had been operating, including three from the army, they would have to stop overnight.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2023

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