Search and rescue teams found 10 more bodies overnight, bringing the death toll from severe floods and landslides that hit northern Turkey to 27.
Floods hit the coastal provinces of Bartin, Kastamonu, Sinop and Samsun on Wednesday, destroying homes, bridges and sweeping away cars. Hundreds of people were rescued by helicopters and another 1,700 people were evacuated.
“The devastation is enormous,” Kerem Kinik, head of the Turkish Red Crescent, told NTV. “I hope the missing are safe and that the death toll will not increase.”
Floodwaters flooded much of the town of Bozkurt in Kastamonu, where one building collapsed and another was seriously damaged. In Bartin province, at least 13 people were injured when part of a bridge collapsed.
Yilmaz Ersevenli, a resident of Bozkurt, said he had left his house to move his car to safety when the water began to rise, but was soon swept away by the gushing flood. He managed to escape by holding on to a tree, which was also washed away.
“I almost died trying to save my car,” he said.
The Presidency for Disaster and Emergency Management, or AFAD, said rescuers found 10 more bodies Friday in flood-stricken Castamonu, bringing the death toll to 27. An 80-year-old woman is missing in Bartin province.
More than 5,000 people, 19 helicopters and 500 vehicles were involved in the rescue effort, supported by nongovernmental organizations and the military.
Five bridges collapsed in the flooding and two more were damaged, AFAD reported. Hundreds of villages were left without power and several roads were blocked.
Speaking in Bozkurt late Thursday, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu called what was happening “the most serious flooding I have seen.”
Turkey’s Meteorological Office reported that more heavy rains are expected in the central and eastern Black Sea region and warned of the risk of more flooding.