Death toll from floods in North Kurdistan rises to 18

After a series of earthquakes in February, North Kurdistan was hit by heavy floods after heavy rainfall since Tuesday, killing 18 people.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, heavy rain caused flooding in several places in North Kurdistan and southern Turkey. The disaster hit a region that was struck by a severe series of earthquakes only five weeks ago. Hundreds of thousands of people in the region are currently homeless and sheltering in emergency shelters. In addition to numerous roads and houses, the rain masses have also flooded emergency shelters. In Iskenderun in the Arab-Alevi province of Hatay, water penetrated tents.

Floods have claimed the lives of 16 people in Urfa and 2 people in Adiyaman. Emergency forces continue to search for three missing citizens.

In the district of Tut in the province of Adiyaman, which was largely destroyed by the 6 February earthquake, the floods swept away a residential container. Two people were killed and three others were reported missing. The container was located in a garden and was inhabited by earthquake victims.

In Urfa, the water entered homes, shops and public buildings and flooded roads, bridges and tunnels. Also affected is the 150-metre-long Abide tunnel in Haliliye, which was inaugurated by AKP leader Tayyip Erdogan only three months ago as a major service to the population. At least six people, including firefighters, were in the tunnel, which was flooded by muddy water, and were swept away by the floodwaters during a rescue operation. One person rescued himself by swimming out of the tunnel. Rescue divers have since been deployed to the tunnel which connects the motorway between Urfa and Antep.

The intensive care unit in the basement of the Eyyübiye Training and Research Hospital in Urfa was also flooded. The patients were transferred to surrounding hospitals. The Archaeological Museum also suffered water damage.

The mayor of Urfa, Zeynel Abidin Beyazgül of the ruling AKP, was met with boos from an angry crowd as he inspected the rescue work. The anger increased when information spread that a bodyguard of the AKP politician pointed his gun at the protesting crowd. Bayazgül was taken to his car under police protection and had to leave the place.

In Doğanşehir district of Malatya, tents inhabited by earthquake victims were washed over.

Floods also hit Rojava on Thursday, claiming the lives of two children in Kobane and Heseke. In Kobanê, which is directly opposite Urfa, a three-year-old child named Şerîn Ehmed was swept away by the floods in the Botan neighbourhood to the west of the canton. Near Hesekê, a 14-year-old named Eymen Hisên El Ehmed, died in the hilltop village of al-Mabtouh on Mount Kizwan (Çiyayê Evdilêzîz), about 40 kilometres west of the city.

Heavy rainfall also resulted in floods in the Yazidi city of Shengal (Sinjar) in southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq), killing an 18-year-old from the village of Kerse. All villages and districts in the region have been affected by heavy rainfall this afternoon.