ANKARA, Turkiye: Floods caused by torrential rains hit two Turkish provinces that were devastated by last month’s catastrophic earthquake, killing at least 16 people and increasing the misery for thousands who were left homeless, officials said Wednesday.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said rescue teams were still searching for five people reported missing in three locations, after the flash floods turned streets in Adiyaman and Sanliurfa provinces into rivers, swept away cars, inundated homes and drenched campsites sheltering earthquake survivors.
At least 12 people were killed in Sanliurfa, including five Syrian nationals whose bodies were found inside a flooded basement apartment and two other people who died inside a van that was trapped at an underpass.
In Adiyaman, two people drowned after a container home sheltering a family of earthquake survivors was washed away by surging waters. A nurse and her two-year-old child are still missing.
Adiyaman and Sanliurfa were among 11 Turkish provinces that were hit by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on Feb. 6, killing more than 48,000 people in Turkiye and an estimated 6,000 people in northern Syria.
Television footage from Sanliurfa showed flood waters surging along a street and sweeping away cars and debris. Rescuers, using a rope, were seen lifting a man to safety from the inundated underpass. Elsewhere, another person was pulled out of the floodwaters by people who dangled a twisted sheet from the window of a building.
“When I woke up, our houses were under water,” Melek Yildirim told the state-run Anadolu Agency after being evacuated from an inundated street in Sanliurfa by boat. “The situation is miserable.”
Yildirim said: “We’ve even forgotten about the earthquake. We’ve forgotten everything. Household goods, even cars were in the water. May God not allow us to live through this again.”
Several people were evacuated from camps where earthquake survivors were sheltering in tents. Patients were also evacuated from the intensive care unit of a hospital in Sanliurfa, HaberTurk reported.
The raging waters caused part of a highway in the region to collapse.
Turkiye’s disaster management agency said more than a dozen professional divers were involved in the rescue efforts in each of the two provinces.
A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck parts of Turkiye and Syria on Feb. 6, killing more than 52,000 people — the vast majority in Turkiye. More than 200,000 buildings in Turkiye either collapsed or were severely damaged.