The rising waters turned normally busy rush-hour roads into fast-flowing rivers, with debris everywhere. As cars and lorries were left like so much flotsam, the survivors were able to re-live the drama.
“My friend got stuck in his truck after the water level rose rapidly,” one man said. “He was stranded as the engine stopped working after it filled up with water. We pulled him out with a winch.” There were similar tales all over the area, with people just happy to be alive. “We were coming into town at about half past five this morning and got caught in the flood,” said another survivor. “I grabbed my daughter and we got out of the car quickly. We are OK, but there are others who are not so lucky.” People said they had expected delays after so many hours of rain, but one more who survived said it was the way the floods rose so quickly that caught them out: “It was shocking that the water came from nowhere, yet in seconds it was over the front of the car. We crashed against the barriers and got stuck. We couldn’t move.” As the floods began to recede, parts of Istanbul looked more like a war zone. Cars and lorries litter the streets, leaving the city with a huge clean-up operation.