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At least 72 people killed in floods and mudslides in Turkey

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By Euronews  with AP
Rescue workers walk in a street in Bozkurt town of Kastamonu province.
Rescue workers walk in a street in Bozkurt town of Kastamonu province.   -   Copyright  AP Photo

The death toll from severe floods and mudslides along Turkey's Black Sea coast has climbed to at least 72, the country's emergency and disaster agency has said.

Torrential rains that pounded the provinces of Bartin, Kastamonu and Sinop on Wednesday caused flooding that demolished homes, severed at least five bridges, swept away cars, and rendered numerous roads unpassable.

Turkish disaster agency AFAD said at least 60 people were killed in the province of Kastamonu, 11 died in Sinop and one in Bartin.

Emergency crews on Monday pressed ahead with efforts to locate at least 47 people who were still reported missing in Kastamonu and Sinop.

AFAD said some 8,000 personnel, backed by 20 rescue dogs, are involved in the rescue and assistance efforts.

About 2,400 people were evacuated across the region, some lifted from rooftops by helicopters, and many were being temporarily housed in student dormitories, authorities said.

Around 40 villages remain without power, according to AFAD.

Experts in Turkey, however, say interference with rivers and improper construction also were contributors to the massive damage in Turkey’s floods.

Geologists have said that construction narrowed the river bed and the surrounding alluvial flood plain of the Ezine stream in Kastamonu’s Bozkurt district, where the damage was most severe, from 400 meters (1,312 feet) to 15 meters (49 feet).

The floods struck on the heels of wildfires in southern Turkey that devastated forestlands in the seaside provinces of Mugla and Antalya, which are popular with tourists. At least eight people died and thousands of residents were forced to flee.