Death toll from northern Turkey flash floods rises to eight
The death toll from flooding in Turkey's Black Sea province of Giresun has risen to eight, said the country's interior minister on Aug. 24.
Speaking to reporters in the disaster-struck area, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said search and rescue teams are still looking for missing people.
Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) in a statement said some 988 personnel and 288 vehicles were deployed in the rescue efforts.
According to reports, 157 people have been rescued so far. At least 12 people have been injured due to the heavy flooding.
The floodwaters demolished 17 buildings and slightly damaged 361 structures, Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum said at a news briefing at the scene.
Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said damage assessments were underway, adding farmland had suffered less damage than initially estimated.
"This is the first time I've seen such a natural disaster,'' Pakdemirli said from Dereli.
"The town's skyline has changed.''
Meanwhile, 9 million Turkish liras ($1.23 million) were sent to the region to carry out recovery and rehabilitation work.
According to the state meteorology authority, the rains, which started on Aug. 22 and caused the flood, reached 137 kilograms (302 pounds) of density per M2, affecting a number of districts.
Efforts continued to rescue people at a wedding hall in Dereli district and guests were being transported to a safe location.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Aug. 23 issued directives to mobilize all means to heal the wounds of affected people and to take necessary steps to prevent such incidents from happening again, the Turkish Communications Directorate said in a statement.
The president also received information about the latest developments in the region and the status of search and rescue operations from Minister Soylu and Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli, who arrived at the scene.
The Defense Ministry announced on Aug. 23 that a helicopter belonging to the Turkish Air Forces was mobilized for search and rescue in Giresun.
Earlier, Giresun's Governor Enver Ünlü told Anadolu Agency on Aug. 23 that about a number of stranded people who have not been identified and several people have been rescued by teams.
He said efforts to get to those who are stranded would begin at first light in the morning and crews are working on opening access to roads and vehicles and heavy equipment are waiting for waters to recede before they enter.
Flood waters caused vehicles in Dereli to drift and buildings were also destroyed in the area, while security forces are trying to confirm reports about missing persons, he said.