Updated Aug 16, 2021 - Science

Death toll in Turkey flash floods climbs to 70

A building.
A building is mostly collapse and severely damaged after the deadly flash floods in Bozkurt district of Kastamonu, Turkey on Aug. 15. Photo: Cihan Okur/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The death toll from last week's severe flooding and mudslides in northern Turkey has risen to at least 70, with 47 people still unaccounted for, AP reports.

The big picture: Torrential rains in the Black Sea coastal provinces of Bartin, Kastamonu, Sinop and Samsun on Wednesday caused flooding and mudslides that destroyed homes and buildings — prompting more than 2,400 people to be evacuated across the region.

  • During the floods, more than 330 villages were left without electricity. Roughly 40 villages are still without power as of Sunday, per AP.
  • The Turkish disaster management agency, AFAD, said some 8,000 personnel, backed by 20 rescue dogs, are involved in the rescue and assistance efforts.

What they're saying: Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the scene marked "the most severe flood disaster I have seen," per AP, noting that the floodwaters reached 3 or 4 meters (10–13 feet) in some areas on Wednesday.

  • President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited the area on Friday. "With God’s permission, we will overcome this disaster as well. We will do whatever it takes as a state ... and hopefully, we will rise from our ashes," Erdogan said.

Background: The damaging rain came just days after the publication of a sweeping climate assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which links trends in extreme precipitation to human-caused climate change.

  • The floods also come after wildfires blazed through southern Turkey, killing at least eight people and forcing thousands of residents to flee.
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