Disasters authorities in Turkey report that at least 14 people have now died in the flood that swept through areas of Şanlıurfa and Adıyaman in the southeast of the country on 15 March 2023.
Initial reports from yesterday suggested 1 person died and 4 were missing in the Tut District of Adıyaman Province. Turkey’s Ministry of Interior Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said search and rescue teams found the body of a second victim and search operations are continuing for the 3 remaining missing people. The victims are thought to have died when floodwaters inundated a container home sheltering earthquake survivors.
In order to carry out search and rescue activities, a total of 346 personnel, including 15 vehicles, 14 professional divers and 140 search and rescue personnel have been deployed to the area. In addition, pumping equipment and 6 rescue boats were assigned.
Elsewhere in the province, the government reported a bridge had collapsed on the Adıyaman-Çelikhan Highway which has been closed.
At least 12 people have died in floods in the city of Urfa (officially Şanlıurfa) and areas of Şanlıurfa Province, AFADF reported. Bodies were found in a flooded basement apartment and inside vehicles trapped in a flooded underpass. A further 2 people are missing. AFAD said emergency services received 562 calls for assistance.
Damage in the city is considerable, with multiple vehicles wrecked and buildings and roads damaged. City streets were left strewn with flood debris. Water marks left by the muddy floodwater were above head height in some of the narrower streets of Şanlıurfa.
As of 15 March, floodwaters remained in some areas with some buildings only accessible by boat. Residents were told to move to higher floors and not to remain in the basements or ground floors of buildings. Police and emergency teams have evacuated several buildings.
Pumping equipment, 25 boats, 23 search and rescue vehicles, 17 professional divers and 162 search and rescue personnel are working in the area, AFAD said. Reinforcements have been brought in from other provinces.
Several government ministers including the interior minister, Suleyman Soylu, visited affected areas on 15 March to see the damage and destruction caused by the floods. Schools and some government offices have been closed. The full extent of the damage will only be known once official damage assessments have been carried out.