Rescue crews in Turkey search for 34 still missing in floods

At least 77 people have been killed in Turkey from the floods

Rescue workers in Turkey kept up the search Tuesday for 34 people still missing after severe floods ravaged parts of the country's Black Sea coast, with excavators clearing the sludge and building wreckage that was left behind.

At least 77 people were killed after torrential rains battered Turkey's northwestern Black Sea provinces on Aug. 11, causing floods that demolished homes and bridges, swept away cars and blocked access to numerous roads.

The Turkish disaster management agency, AFAD, said 26 people were still unaccounted for in Kastamonu province and eight others were reported missing in Sinop province.

A soldier walks on a temporary bridge set up by military in Bozkurt town of Kastamonu province, Turkey, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021, after flooding. Turkey sent ships to help evacuate people and vehicles from a northern town on the Black Sea that was hard hit by flooding, as the death toll in the disaster rose Sunday to at least 62 and more people than that remained missing.

A soldier walks on a temporary bridge set up by military in Bozkurt town of Kastamonu province, Turkey, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021, after flooding. Turkey sent ships to help evacuate people and vehicles from a northern town on the Black Sea that was hard hit by flooding, as the death toll in the disaster rose Sunday to at least 62 and more people than that remained missing. (AP Photo)

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Private NTV television showed excavators removing debris from flood-devastated areas of the town of Bozkurt in Kastamonu province and from Ayancik in Sinop. The military installed temporary bridges to replace those that were destroyed, while helicopters carried aid to villages still cut off by flood-blocked roads.

Also Tuesday, police in Istanbul detained the contractor of an eight-story building in Bozkurt that collapsed in the flooding, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. The man was expected to be taken to Bozkurt for questioning by prosecutors.

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More than 9,500 personnel and 19 trained dogs were involved in the rescue efforts as well as efforts to provide assistance, AFAD said.

About 2,400 people were evacuated across the region amid the floods — scores of them lifted to safety by helicopters. Many are being temporarily housed in student dormitories.

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The floods hit Turkey’s northern coast just as hundreds of rescue workers were trying to tame wildfires racing across the country's southern Mediterranean coast.

Climate scientists say there’s little doubt that climate change from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas is driving more extreme events — such as heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods and storms — as the planet warms.