Floods hit Turkey’s north after south ravaged by wildfires

The floods are the most recent disasters experts say are connected to climate change to hit Turkey in recent weeks.

Heavy rains caused floods and landslides in northern Turkey [Ibrahim Yozogu/Anadolu Agency]

Floods caused by unusually heavy rainfall are ravaging Turkey’s northern coast, tearing down a bridge and leaving villages without power.

The floods on Wednesday came after some of the largest wildfires in the country’s history spread across the southwest.

State broadcaster TRT Haber said one person died from a heart attack in the northern province of Bartin amid the flooding, and emergency workers were looking for another person who was missing.

Thirteen people were also injured after a bridge collapsed in Bartin and there were power outages in 12 villages, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said.

In Sinop province, 240km (150 miles) east of Bartin, a house collapsed due to the deluge and cars were left stranded in water, Reuters news agency footage showed.

A bridge collapsed in Bartin, Turkey following floods and landslidse caused by heavy rains [Ibrahim Yozoglu/Anadolu Agency]

AFAD said a hospital was being evacuated and some roads were closed in Sinop, warning that strong rains in the area were expected to continue.

Turkey’s north is prone to flash floods in the summer when rains are particularly strong. Last year, at least six people were killed in the floods in the region.

The most recent flooding came just days after the United Nations climate panel sounded a dire warning that the world’s greenhouse gas levels were high enough to guarantee climate disruption for decades.

Turkey, in particular, has faced a range of disasters related to climate change in recent months.

Raging wildfires burned tens of thousands of hectares of forest along its southern coast during the last two weeks.

Last month, Turkey registered its highest temperature since 1961 – 49.1C (120.4F) in the southeastern town of Cizre.

Water shortages continue to threaten food production and relations with Turkey’s neighbours, who are already jockeying for water rights, particularly related to the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.

The situation has heaped pressure on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to act.

Polls show climate change is among the top issues for young voters in the country, with seven million more youths projected to be able to vote by the next election, slated for 2023.

Turkey remains one of only six nations yet to formally approve the Paris Climate Accord, a treaty that seeks to slow the rate of global temperature rise through individual commitments by signatories.

Ankara has argued the agreement unfairly classes Turkey as a “developed” rather than “developing” country, which precludes it from accessing extra funding under the treaty.

Source: News Agencies