The death toll from severe floods and mudslides in coastal Turkey has climbed to at least 42, the country’s emergency and disaster agency said.
Families of those missing after Turkey’s worst floods in years anxiously watched rescue teams search buildings on Saturday, fearing the death toll from the raging torrents could rise further.
“This is unprecedented. There is no power. The mobile phones were dead. There was no reception. You couldn’t receive news from anyone,” said Ilyas Kalabalik, a 42-year-old resident of Bozkurt.
About 45cm (18 inches) of rain fell in less than three days in one village near Bozkurt.
Torrential rains that pounded the Black Sea provinces of Bartin, Kastamonu and Sinop on Wednesday caused flooding that demolished homes, severed at least five bridges, swept away cars and rendered numerous roads unpassable.
Turkish disaster agency AFAD said 34 people were killed in Kastamonu, seven in Sinop, and one in Bartin. Nine people remained hospitalised in Sinop and one person was missing in Bartin province, according to the agency.
Some residents in Kastamonu said on social media there were hundreds more missing, a statement also made by an opposition lawmaker.
About 2,250 people were evacuated across the region, some lifted from rooftops by helicopters, and many were being temporarily housed in student dormitories, authorities said.
The devastation came just as the disaster-hit country was gaining control over hundreds of wildfires that killed eight people and destroyed swaths of forest along its scenic southern coast.
Scientists say such natural disasters are becoming more intense and frequent because of global warming caused by polluting emissions.
Experts in Turkey, however, say interference with rivers and improper construction also were contributors to the massive damage in Turkey’s floods.