(Istanbul) Twenty people died or went missing on Wednesday in floods that hit two provinces in southeastern Turkey already affected by the devastating earthquake of February 6, adding to the distress of survivors.
Twelve people lost their lives in the town of Sanliurfa, including five Syrians found dead in the basement of a building and two others died in the neighboring province of Adiyaman, including a one-and-a-half-year-old baby. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu reported.
Five people are missing.
More than 160 rescuers and divers have been dispatched to the region, the minister said.
Video footage shows towns overrun by torrential, muddy waters; on one of them, we see a man in a beige suit and tie trying to stay on the surface while he is carried away at high speed by the brown waves.
The province of Adiyaman and the neighboring province of Malatya, hard hit by the wells, were among the most affected and suffered significant destruction during the earthquake.
At least one of the victims who died in Adiyaman was inside a container converted into emergency accommodation when she was trapped by the waters, according to the official Anadolu Agency.
In one of the videos shot in the province of Malatya, the water level rose around the white tents where earthquake survivors are sheltering.
Some two million quake survivors have been temporarily housed in tent and container villages in Turkey’s eleven quake-hit provinces.
“Restore destroyed cities”
According to the governorate of Sanliurfa and images broadcast by the private channel NTV, the torrential rains also invaded the ground floor of one of the main hospitals in the province, including an intensive care unit, forcing doctors to transfer patients.
The images show the avenues of Sanliurfa, a large city located 50 kilometers as the crow flies from the Syrian border, transformed into brownish torrents carrying a chaos of cars and trucks.
The February 6 quake killed nearly 48,500 people and affected 13.5 million people, or nearly one-sixth of the Turkish population, according to the authorities’ latest report.
In the campaign for his re-election on May 14, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was again on Sunday in the earthquake zone he has frequently visited, promised on Wednesday to build 650,000 homes in the provinces as soon as possible. affected by the earthquake.
“Beyond the relief operations, emergency assistance and temporary shelters we have provided so far, we promise our nation to restore the cities destroyed in the earthquake within a year” , he said in a speech to MPs from his party, reiterating a promise made in the aftermath of the disaster.