Turkey, floodings in Rize

At least 7 dead from severe floods in Turkey

Heavy rains, over 200 litres per square meter, caused flooding and landslides in the Turkish province of Rize.

At least 7 dead and one person missing: this is the latest balance after the severe floods that affected the Rize province in the last hours, located on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, north of Turkey, and which caused huge floods and landslides after rainfall exceeding 200 litres per square meter.

According to information from the Turkish Emergency and Disaster Management Agency (AFAD), the heavy rains that fell late yesterday over the entire Rize province caused serious damage in several areas.

However, the most affected areas were the districts of Güneysu and Çayeli, two municipalities located in the mountains and crossed by two rivers (Güneysu and Sabuncular), as well as rural areas such as the small town of Muradiye, on the outskirts of the provincial capital.

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The rain, which began late on Wednesday, intensified with the hours especially in the Güneysu district, where rainfall reached 207 litres per square meter, dragging mountain slopes and filling the streets with tons of stones, mud and debris washed away by floodwaters.

Rescue teams try to find more victims

At noon today, the rescue teams dispatched to the area continued rescue operations to try to find the missing persons in Güneysu and Muradiye, where several houses were literally buried underground; however, the governor of Rize stated in a statement that floods and landslides have affected numerous towns throughout the province. Many of the bodies were found hundreds of metres from their homes, washed away.

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has travelled to the site of the disaster, arriving in the area to supervise operations and briefing by phone to Turkish President Erdoğan, who also reportedly spoke to the governor of Rize about the situation in the area. The Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Adil Karaismailoğlu, and the Minister of Environment and Urbanism Murat Kurum, also travelled to Rize.

The government has promised for now an aid of about 5 million Turkish liras – about 490,000 euros – to rebuild the affected areas in Rize, a province that – like the entire eastern Black Sea region – experiences this type of disaster from time to time due to its complicated orography and its climate.

One of the most serious weather disasters on record in this northeastern Turkish province was recorded in 2010, when 12 people were killed by floods in the town of Gündoğdu, where several houses were buried.