Rescue crews in Turkey search for 34 still missing in floods

Police have arrested the contractor of a building in Bozkurt that collapsed in the flooding

The six-storey Fatih apartment building is demolished after severe damaged caused by flash floods in Bozkurt city, Turkey, on August 17. Getty
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Rescue workers in Turkey on Tuesday kept up the search for 34 people missing after severe floods ravaged parts of the Black Sea coast, with diggers clearing the sludge and building wreckage.

At least 77 people were killed after torrential rains battered Turkey’s north-western provinces on August 11, causing floods that demolished homes and bridges, swept away cars and blocked access to roads.

The Turkish disaster management agency said 26 people were still unaccounted for in Kastamonu province and eight were reported missing in Sinop.

Private broadcaster NTV showed diggers removing debris from flood-devastated areas of the town of Bozkurt in Kastamonu province, and from Ayancik in Sinop.

The military installed temporary bridges to replace those that were destroyed, while helicopters carried aid to villages still cut off by blocked roads.

Also on Tuesday, police in Istanbul detained the contractor of an eight-storey building in Bozkurt that collapsed in the flooding, the state Anadolu Agency reported.

The man was expected to be taken to Bozkurt for questioning by prosecutors.

More than 9,500 personnel and 19 trained dogs were involved in rescue efforts and work to provide assistance, the disaster agency said.

About 2,400 people were moved to safety across the region amid the floods, with scores of them lifted by helicopters.

Many are being temporarily housed in student dormitories.

The floods hit Turkey just as hundreds of rescue workers were trying to extinguish wildfires racing across the country’s southern Mediterranean coast.

Scientists say there is little doubt that man-made climate change is causing more extreme events including heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, floods and storms.

Updated: August 17, 2021, 8:23 PM