Three Killed, Hundreds Evacuated as Floods, Blizzards Hit Turkey
Two people have died in floods in southern Turkey and a man has frozen to death in the northwest as heavy rains and snow wreaked havoc, Anatolia news agency reported on Sunday.
A ten-year-old girl perished as she fell into a stream and was swept away by rising waters in Icel province, where floods forced the evacuation of hundreds of people and damaged crops and infrastructure.
The second victim, a 26-year-old man stuck in a makeshift shed in his lemon garden, was crushed by masonry as the floods swept away the stone walls of a shed, Anatolia said.
In the northwestern province of Canakkale, a 60-year-old man froze to death while walking from his village to a nearby town after blizzards paralysed traffic on many roads in the region.
In Icel, 455 people, mainly from villages located in a valley in the skirts of high mountains, were evacuated to Tarsus town on Saturday, Tarsus governor Necmi Kurt said.
Another 122 people had been evacuated from their homes to nearby Erdemli town, according to Anatolia.
They were put up in sports halls, schools and holiday facilities, where relief agencies were providing humanitarian assistance.
A four-storey hotel at the Meditarranean coast near Erdemli collapsed overnight, but there were no casulaties as the building was empty, Anatolia reported.
Two neighbouring hotels were also in danger of collapse, it added.
Officials said the average rainfall per square meter in Icel since the beginning of December was more than four times greater than the monthly average in the last 50 years.
The floods, which also caused mudslides, damaged vast sweeps of agricultural land, cut power networks and blocked roads in the province as well as in neighboring Adana.
Agriculture Minister Husnu Yusuf Gokalp and Health Minister Osman Durmus travelled to Icel on Sunday to examine the damage and pledged government support for the compensation of agricultural losses and infrastructure rebuilding.
In the meantime, Turkey's northwest provinces were battling heavy snowfall and blizzards, which paralysed traffic and hit electricity and telephone networks, Anatolia said.
Roads to about 300 villages in the region were blocked and many vehicles were stuck on roads, the agency said – Ankara (AFP)
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