Turkey officials reported that the number of fatalities in the region rose to 38 on Friday amid the devastating floods and landslides in the northern parts of the country as rescue personnel searched collapsed buildings, swamped homes, and submerged basements.
One opposition politician said that at least 300 residents remain unaccounted for as the torrential downpour threatens the country. The Black Sea coastal provinces of Bartin, Kastamonu, Sinop, and Samsun observed heavy rains on Wednesday.
The downpours resulted in massive floods that destroyed homes and bridges and swept away vehicles. Officials reported that more than 1,700 residents were evacuated from the area, with some being transported by helicopters from rooftops. Many others were temporarily housed in student dormitories while waiting for transport.
On Friday, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca uploaded a Twitter post where he announced 32 people were found dead in Kastamonu and six from Sinop. Officials said that a stream burst the banks of Kastamonu and overwhelmed Bozkurt. Floodwaters later destroyed one waterfront building and significantly damaged two nearby structures, the Associated Press reported.
Witnesses observed several dead bodies washing up on the shore of the Black Sea, which was caught on camera that showed some residents carrying a body bag on an unidentified province's beach.
On Friday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Kastamonu where he attended a funeral for some of the victims of the tragic floods. After leading the prayers for the victims, the president said the government will do everything in its power to support the affected areas.
Erdogan said that while they are unable to bring back the lives of the victims who have lost their lives, they can compensate those who have lost their loved ones. The president's administration has previously been under fire for its allegedly failed responses to natural disasters, BBC reported.
Devastating Climate Change
The floods have also resulted in as many as 330 villages without electrical power after the torrential waters damaged power lines. The country's latest natural disaster came in the week when a major UN report warned of extreme weather conditions due to human-induced global warming.
Many European regions are being plagued with flash floods and severe heat waves this summer. Mountainous areas along the coast of the Black Sea in Turkey are much more prone to flooding during the summertime.
During a visit to the area on Thursday, Interior Minister Suleyman Solyu said that the recent flood was the worst that he has ever seen in his life. In the neighboring region of Greece, residents are ravaged by massive wildfires that have only become controllable after much-needed rainfall in the last 48 hours.
Television footage in Turkey showed floodwater carrying vehicles and debris along the streets of the affected villages. The Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) expected the heavy rainfall in the region to ease on Thursday.
Officials also reported 299 forest fires that burnt across the southwestern provinces in the last two weeks that have now been placed under control, CNN reported.