Death toll from northern Turkey floods rises to 27

Turkish officials say search-and-rescue crews have recovered 10 more bodies overnight, raising the death toll from the severe floods and mudslides that struck the north of the country to 27 on Friday.

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 to safety by helicopters while 1,700 others were evacuated.

The Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, or AFAD, said rescuers recovered 10 more bodies in worst-hit Kastamonu, bringing the fatality toll to 27.

An 80-year-old woman was still reported missing in Bartin province.

Floodwaters inundated much of the town of Bozkurt, in Kastamonu, where one building collapsed and a second building was severely damaged. In Bartin province, at least 13 people were injured when a section of a bridge caved in.

Search and Rescue team members evacuate a girl during flash floods in Bozkurt, on Thursday. The floods battered the Black Sea coastal provinces of Bartin, Kastamonu, Sinop and Samsun on Wednesday. (Onder Godez/Ministry of Interior Disaster and Emergency Management Authority/Handout/Reuters)

Five bridges collapsed in the floods while two others were damaged, AFAD said. Hundreds of villages were left without power and several roads were blocked.

Speaking in Bozkurt late Thursday, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu described the scenes as “the most severe flood disaster I have seen.”

Turkey’s Black Sea region is frequently struck by severe rains and flash flooding. At least six people were killed in floods that hit the eastern Black Sea coastal province of Rize last month.

The disaster struck as firefighters in southwest Turkey worked to extinguish a wildfire in Mugla province, an area popular with tourists that runs along the Aegean Sea. The blaze, which was brought under control on Thursday, was one of more than 200 wildfires in Turkey since July 28. At least eight people died and thousands of residents have had to flee fierce blazes.

Climate scientists say there is little doubt that climate change from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas is driving more extreme events, such as heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods and storms. Such calamities are expected to happen more frequently as the planet warms.

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