Floods kill at least 13 in Turkey’s quake area
ISTANBUL: Flash floods on Wednesday killed at least 13 people living in tents and container shelters erected in Turkey’s earthquake-hit region, increasing pressure on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of elections.
Several other people were swept away by the torrential waters, which turned roads into muddy rivers in areas hit by last month’s 7.8-magnitude quake, local media reports said.
More than 48,000 people died in Turkey and nearly 6,000 in Syria in the February 6 disaster, the region’s deadliest in modern times.
Hundreds of thousands of Turkish quake survivors have been housed in tents and container homes in the disaster region, which includes 11 provinces in southeastern Turkey.
Torrential rain hit the area late Tuesday and the weather service expects it to continue late Wednesday.
Turkish media said the floods killed 11 people in Sanliurfa, some 50 kilometers north of the Syrian border.
Two people also died in nearby Adiyaman, including a one-year-old, according to the reports.
Pictures showed the water washing away cars and inundating temporary shelters set up for earthquake victims.
The Sanliurfa governor’s office said the flooding had also reached the ground floor of one of the region’s main hospitals.
Pressure on Erdogan
Facing a difficult re-election on May 14, Erdogan faces an angry public backlash at his government’s stuttering response to the worst natural disaster of his two-decade rule.
Erdogan has publicly apologized several times and stressed that no nation could have dealt with a disaster of such proportions quickly.
Erdogan has spent the past few weeks touring the region, meeting survivors and promising to rebuild the entire area within a year.
“By the end of next year we will build 319,000 houses,” Erdogan told members of the ruling party in a parliamentary address on Wednesday.
“In addition to the search and rescue, emergency relief and temporary shelter we have provided to date, we have made a pledge to our nation to rebuild cities devastated by the earthquake within a year,” he said.
Erdogan dispatched his interior minister to the flooded region to oversee the government’s response.
“Currently, we have 10 teams with 163 people conducting search and rescue operations over a distance of 25 kilometers,” Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters.
“We also have divers. But the weather conditions don’t allow us much,” he said.
Source: Crypto News Deutsch