GIRESUN, Turkey 

The death toll from floods in Turkey’s Black Sea province of Giresun rose to five, the country’s president said Sunday.  

“According to initial reports, there were five loss of lives and the number of the injured was as many as 12 due to the heavy floods,” said Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Rescue operations are underway, he said, with nearly 150 saved from the deluge so far.

GIRESUN, TURKEY – AUGUST 23: A view of damaged site hit by a flood due to heavy rain in Dereli district of Giresun, Turkey on August 23, 2020. ( Gültekin Yetgin – Anadolu Agency ) 

Erdogan also offered condolences to families of those who lost their lives in floods.

Those who lost their lives included a gendarmerie officer.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said 11 people were reported missing in northern province of Giresun.

Later in the day, Soylu said the roads to 118 villages had been closed, with 20 having been reopened so far. Also, power had been restored to a total of 40 residential areas out of 78 where there had been outages due to the floods.

A total of 944 personnel had been deployed in the rescue efforts, he added.

Earlier, Soylu, who arrived at the scene, said five gendarmerie officers and an excavator operator went missing after a 5-meter (16-foot) high culvert collapsed due to floods in the region. 

The floodwaters demolished 17 buildings and slightly damaged 361, said Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum in a press briefing at the scene.

For his part, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said damage assessments were underway and that farmland had suffered less damage than initially estimated.

Efforts continued to rescue people at a wedding hall in Dereli district and guests were being taken to a safe place.

Referring to information received from the state meteorology authority, he said rains, which started Saturday, reached 137 kilograms (302 pounds) of density and affected districts. He warned that 50 to 100 kilograms (110 to 220 pounds) of rainfall is expected in the Canakci, Gorele and Dogankent districts Sunday.

 Earlier, Giresun’s Governor Enver Unlu told Anadolu Agency 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.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) announced that rescue teams were dispatched to Giresun during the initial minutes of the natural disaster.

*Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur, Gozde Bayar and Sena Guler

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