Torrential rains that pounded the Black Sea provinces of Bartin, Kastamonu and Sinop cause flooding that demolishes homes, damages at least five bridges, sweeps away cars and renders numerous roads blocked.

A view shows a partially collapsed building, as the area was hit by flash floods that swept through towns in the Turkish Black Sea region, in the town of Bozkurt, in Kastamonu province, Turkey, on August 14, 2021.
A view shows a partially collapsed building, as the area was hit by flash floods that swept through towns in the Turkish Black Sea region, in the town of Bozkurt, in Kastamonu province, Turkey, on August 14, 2021. (Reuters)

The death toll from floods in Turkey's Black Sea region has risen to 55, authorities said.

Floods caused by heavy rains hit the Black Sea region in the north of the country on Wednesday, leaving 46 people dead in the province of Kastamonu, Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) statement said.

Eight others died in the Sinop province and one person in Bartin province.

Arife Unal, an 85-year-old woman, drowned and was swept away during the floods in Bartin. Four days of search and rescue efforts ended after finding her lifeless body 600 meters (1,970 feet) from her house.

According to a statement by the governor's office in Bartin, 13 bridges were destroyed in the flood, while at least 45 buildings were heavily damaged.

READ MORE: Severe floods batter Turkey’s Black Sea coastal cities

Rescue efforts continue

Rescue and relief operations continue in the flood-hit areas, the statement added.

Some 918 workers in Bartin, 3,547 in Kastamonu, and 1,910 in Sinop are conducting relief work in the affected areas, according to AFAD.

A total of 341 people in Bartin, 1,580 in Kastamonu, and 533 in Sinop were evacuated to safe areas by helicopters and boats, the disaster management agency said.

Meanwhile, 223 volunteers, nine catering trucks, and 54 vehicles sent by the Turkish Red Crescent to the region are working on the ground.

Disaster area

On Friday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the Bozkurt district in Kastamonu, the worst-hit flood area.

"We will do our best as a state as quickly as possible, and hopefully we will rise from our ashes again," he said.

The president added that he would make an on-the-spot assessment together with Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu, and Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum. The necessary steps will be taken after the assessment, he said.

Later in the day, Erdogan announced that the places affected had been declared a disaster area.

These places will be able to defer tax dues and local tradespeople will be allowed to postpone payments to the country's Social Security Institution.

Assistance will also be provided to cover property, vehicle, and workplace losses.

Businesses' loan repayments will also be postponed, with the state preparing an emergency support plan for disaster-hit areas.

READ MORE: Fresh floods hit Turkey’s Black Sea region

The floods brought chaos to northern provinces just as authorities were declaring wildfires that raged through southern coastal regions for two weeks had been brought under control.

About 45 cm of rain fell in less than three days in one village near Bozkurt.

Torrents of water tossed dozens of cars and heaps of debris along streets, destroyed bridges, closed roads and cut off electricity to hundreds of villages.

The small town of Bozkurt lies in a valley along the banks of the Ezine river in Kastamonu province, 2.5 km from the Black Sea. 

Climate change not only to blame

Climate scientists unequivocally say that climate change is leading to extreme weather events as the world warms because of the burning of coal, oil and natural gas. Such calamities are expected to happen more frequently as the planet warms.

Experts in Turkey, however, say interference with rivers and improper construction also were contributors to the massive damage in Turkey’s floods.

Geologists have said that construction narrowed the river bed and the surrounding alluvial flood plain of the Ezine stream in Kastamonu’s Bozkurt district, where the damage was most severe, from 400 meters to 15 meters. Residential buildings were built along the waterfront.

During severe rains, the contracted stream has limited area in which to move and can overflow. Videos posted by residents showed water rushing downstream in Bozkurt as the surrounding buildings and roads flooded.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies