Photo taken on Aug. 17, 2021 shows a flood-hit area in the town of Bozkurt, Kastamonu province, Turkey. The death toll of Turkey's devastating flash floods rose to 77 on Tuesday as emergency crews were searching for more victims in the country's northern Black Sea region. The worst-hit province is Kastamonu where at least 62 people have lost their lives in the town of Bozkurt. (Photo by Mustafa Kaya/Xinhua)
ANKARA, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- The death toll of Turkey's devastating flash floods rose to 77 on Tuesday as emergency crews were searching for more victims in the country's northern Black Sea region.
The floods, caused by heavy rainfall on Aug. 11, have killed 77 people in three provinces, Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD) said in a statement.
The worst-hit province is Kastamonu where at least 62 people have lost their lives in the town of Bozkurt. Fourteen others died in Sinop, along with one more person in Bartin.
Seven people are treated in hospitals while 34 people are still unaccounted for, the AFAD noted.
Rescue and relief efforts are continuing in the flood-hit areas, with some 8,100 personnel, 1,000 vehicles, 21 helicopters and 81 ambulances, the emergency agency added.
Torrential rains caused flooding that demolished homes, collapsed bridges, swept away cars and cut power supplies in the region.
On Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Bozkurt and announced that the places affected by the floods had been declared disaster zones and thus are slated for government aid.
The army has also deployed soldiers in the disaster zone to help search and rescue operations while an amphibious construction unit was building bridges, TV footage showed.
Mountainous areas along Turkey's Black Sea coast are prone to floods in the summer, but this time the damage is worse than that in the previous years.
Some experts in Turkey said that besides climate change, interference with rivers and inproper construction on river banks were among the main reasons of the massive damage.
"Buildings have been constructed near the river bank, on the waterfront as well. If you narrow the 400 metres wide bank to 15, waters will mount up to 7-10 metres and you will have this disaster," paleoseismology specialist Ramazan Demirtas said on his Twitter account.
"Stream beds should not be zoned for construction in any way," this expert indicated, calling on the government and local authorities not to hand out housing permits in those areas.
Social media users posted videos of the flash floods in Bozkurt showing the swelling Ezine river dragging logs, cars, debris and overflowing roads as citizens were trying desperately to escape the rising waters.
The floodwaters brought chaos to Black Sea provinces just as the unprecedented wildfires that had raged through southern touristic coastal regions for two weeks, which killed eight people. Firefighters managed to bring some 275 fires under control in several provinces. Enditem