Flash floods in northern Turkey leave five dead, 11 missing

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ANKARA (Reuters) – Flash flooding in Turkey’s northern Black Sea region left five people dead, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, and authorities were looking for 11 missing people.

Floodwaters caused by unusually heavy rainfall swept debris and vehicles along a road, leaving them buried in mud, footage from Giresun province showed. Residents were seen cleaning the streets as construction machinery lifted debris and cleared the roads.

Speaking in Istanbul, Erdogan said the flooding also spread to neighboring provinces, causing injuries in Rize and Trabzon.

“In the first reports we received, we had five dead and around 12 injured as a result of heavy flooding,” Erdogan said. “God willing, we will quickly overcome the damage and destruction,” he said.

The Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) said it had sent a search and rescue team and teams in other provinces were also waiting on high alert. In a statement, he said there was no access to the Dereli district of Giresun via the main road after the streams overflowed.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said 153 people had so far been rescued and nearly 1,000 aid workers were looking for the missing. He said electricity had been restored in some areas, but the infrastructure had been badly damaged.

“We did not expect such a serious scene in the region,” he told reporters in Giresun, as did Environment Minister Murat Kurum, who said 17 buildings had collapsed and that 361 others had been damaged.

Rainfall in Giresun exceeded the August average by 1.5 times, but agricultural damage in the region was less than expected, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Yesim Dikmen; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Frances Kerry

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