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Flash Floods in Turkey Cause 9 Nine Deaths; Rescue Operations Underway | See Photos

A man looks on as flood waters sweep by in Bozkurt town of Kastamonu province of Turkey, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021. The floods triggered by torrential rains battered the Black Sea coastal provinces of Bartin, Kastamonu, Sinop and Samsun on Wednesday, demolishing homes and bridges and sweeping cars away by torrents. Helicopters scrambled to rescue people stranded on rooftops.(IHA via AP)

A man looks on as flood waters sweep by in Bozkurt town of Kastamonu province of Turkey, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021. The floods triggered by torrential rains battered the Black Sea coastal provinces of Bartin, Kastamonu, Sinop and Samsun on Wednesday, demolishing homes and bridges and sweeping cars away by torrents. Helicopters scrambled to rescue people stranded on rooftops.(IHA via AP)

Turkey has been grappling with drought and a rapid succession of natural disasters that world scientists believe are becoming more frequent and violent because of climate change.

Turkish rescuers distributed food and relocated thousands of people into student dormitories Thursday as the death toll from flash floods that swept across several Black Sea regions rose to nine.

Heavy storms descended on Turkey’s northern stretches just as rescuers reported bringing hundreds of wildfires that have killed eight people since late July under near total control in the south.

Turkey has been grappling with drought and a rapid succession of natural disasters that world scientists believe are becoming more frequent and violent because of climate change.

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An aerial view shows a flooded area following heavy rainfalls near Kastamonu, on August 11, 2021. - From flash floods to forest fires, drought to “sea snot", Turkey is bearing the brunt of increasingly frequent disasters blamed on climate change. (Photo by - / Demiroren News Agency (DHA) / AFP)

Heavy rains late Tuesday produced flash floods that turned streets into running rivers and sparked mudslides that buckled roads in three northern regions.

Rescuers were forced to evacuate a regional hospital holding 45 patients — four of them in intensive care — in the region around the coastal city of Sinop on Wednesday.

Images on television and social media showed water rising to the level of street signs in some towns.

A man looks on as flood waters sweep by in Bozkurt town of Kastamonu province of Turkey, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021. The floods triggered by torrential rains battered the Black Sea coastal provinces of Bartin, Kastamonu, Sinop and Samsun on Wednesday, demolishing homes and bridges and sweeping cars away by torrents. Helicopters scrambled to rescue people stranded on rooftops.(IHA via AP)

They showed stranded villagers being plucked off rooftops by helicopter and bridges collapsing under the force of the rushing water below.

A Coast Guard helicopter rescue a man stranded on the rooftop of a building after floods forced people to seek safety on high ground and mudslides killed five people, in Bozkurt town of Kastamonu province, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021. The floods triggered by torrential rains battered the Black Sea coastal provinces of Bartin, Kastamonu, Sinop and Samsun on Wednesday, demolishing homes and bridges and sweeping cars away by torrents. (IHA via AP)

Turkey’s disaster response authority said nine people had lost their lives in the northern Kastamonu province while the search for a person who disappeared in the northern city of Bartin continued.

Destroyed cars in a street after floods and mudslides in Bozkurt town of Kastamonu province, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021. The floods triggered by torrential rains battered the Black Sea coastal provinces of Bartin, Kastamonu, Sinop and Samsun on Wednesday, demolishing homes and bridges and sweeping cars away by torrents. Helicopters scrambled to rescue people stranded on rooftops.(IHA via AP)

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office said he held a phone call with the heads of the affected regions Thursday and promised to provide all state assistance available.

The emergencies authority said more than 1,000 rescuers were working in the region while Turkish Red Crescent teams were distributing food packages and hot meals.

An aerial view shows a destroyed in a flooded area following heavy rainfalls near Kastamonu, on August 11, 2021. - From flash floods to forest fires, drought to “sea snot", Turkey is bearing the brunt of increasingly frequent disasters blamed on climate change. (Photo by - / Demiroren News Agency (DHA) / AFP)

Officials said more than 5,000 spaces had been allocated in student dormitories to shelter those displaced by the floods.

Three villages suffered power cuts and mobile phone services was down in parts of the affected towns.

The disaster struck less than a month after six people died in floods caused by heavy rains in the northeast Rize province.

An aerial view shows a destroyed in a flooded area following heavy rainfalls near Kastamonu, on August 11, 2021. - From flash floods to forest fires, drought to “sea snot", Turkey is bearing the brunt of increasingly frequent disasters blamed on climate change. (Photo by - / Demiroren News Agency (DHA) / AFP)

Turkey’s mountainous Black Sea regions frequently experience heavy rains that produce flash floods and mudslides in the summer months.

Officials said that all but three of the nearly 300 fires that had been ravaging Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean coasts since July 28 have been brought under control.

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first published:August 12, 2021, 19:17 IST