Flood, storm hit major cities in Turkey
DHA photoAuthorities have closed schools and public institutions and evacuated some residents in the northwestern province of Edirne following the collapse of a dam in neighboring Bulgaria that led to the flooding of two rivers running through both countries.
“River Maritza has begun to rise dramatically on the Bulgarian side due to the partial collapse of a dam located in the north of Bulgaria’s town of Harmanli,” Edirne Gov. Gökhan Sözer told members of the press.
“We have been monitoring the flow rate of River Maritza since the morning hours. These waters have begun reaching downtown Edirne today [Feb. 6] at around 8 p.m.”
Turkish officials have suspended all vehicular border and railway crossings into Bulgaria through the Kapıkule Customs Gate in response to the overflow, reported the Doğan news agency.
The neighborhood of Karaağaç in the district of İpsala and Lozan Avenue are likewise facing the peril of being inundated by flood waters, according to Sözer.
“Army vehicles are going to be deployed to help evacuate residents in case of an emergency once the bridges passing over the rivers are closed down, he added.
The embankments in the vicinity of the neighborhood of Karaağaç were reinforced after another flood that occurred in 2010, said the neighborhood’s headman Agah Korkan, but the volume of the waters that are now approaching Edirne is greater than in previous years, he said.
Bulgaria and Greece
Meanwhile, at least eight people drowned as torrential rains and overflowing rivers broke a dam wall and swept through whole villages in southern Bulgaria on Monday, officials said according to Agence France Presse.
Electricity was also cut off to 300 towns and villages in Bulgaria, roads were closed and several border checkpoints with Romania and Turkey were shut, the Interior Ministry said.
Greece also declared a state of emergency in its flooded north, where rescuers had to extricate five elderly residents Feb. 7 from their flooded homes after River Evros burst its banks near the country’s border with Bulgaria.
Several other elderly residents were also evacuated overnight from three villages in the area.
Water levels began rising after days of torrential downpour in River Evros, which enters Greece from Bulgaria and demarcates the Turkish border, while the situation was further compounded by the bursting of the Ivonovna Dam in southern Bulgaria.
Primary and high schools located within the borders of the metropolitan municipality in the Mediterranean province of Antalya were also put on vacation due to torrential rains and storms in the region.
Authorities have also temporarily closed schools in downtown Afyonkarahisar and Isparta in western Turkey.
Meteorology officials have issued further warnings for more snowfall and precipitation to move across Turkey in the coming week.