Floods kill 14 in Turkish provinces hit by February earthquake

ADIYAMAN, Turkey — Torrential rains on Wednesday caused floods in two Turkish provinces already devastated by last month’s earthquake, resulting in the deaths of at least 14 people and adding to the suffering of hundreds of thousands who were already homeless.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu mentioned that rescue teams were still searching for five individuals who were missing in three different locations. Flash floods turned streets in Adıyaman and Şanlıurfa provinces into rivers, swept away cars, inundated homes, and drenched campsites that were providing shelter to earthquake survivors.

At least 12 people were killed in Sanliurfa, including five Syrian nationals found dead inside a flooded basement apartment and two others who perished in a van that was trapped at an underpass. In Adıyaman, two people drowned after surging waters swept away a container home where a family of earthquake survivors was staying.

Footage from Şanlıurfa showed flood waters surging along a street and sweeping away cars and debris. Several individuals were evacuated from camps where earthquake survivors were sheltering in tents, and patients were removed from the intensive care unit of a hospital in Şanlıurfa. The raging waters caused part of a highway in the region to collapse.

In February, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit parts of Turkey and Syria, killing more than 52,000 people, the majority of the deaths occurring in Turkey. Over 200,000 buildings in Turkey were severely damaged or collapsed.

Criticism of Poor Government Planning and Response

Survivors in Adıyaman have complained that they have been left to clear their water-logged tents themselves. One resident stated, “There is no municipality or aid team anyway, so we have to continue to stay in these water-filled tents.”

Şanlıurfa Mayor Zeynel Abidin Beyazgul, representing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), was booed by crowds during his visit to the floods and had to be ushered away by police. Turkey’s disaster agency AFAD reported that search and rescue teams were looking for missing people and assisting those trapped in their buildings. The agency also warned of further heavy rains and storms in the region until Thursday.

Shelters for earthquake survivors should have been placed in areas not subject to flooding, said opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy leader Ali Oztunc. “Even the tents they set up after the earthquake are not resistant to disasters. This is either incompetence or recklessness.”

In response to the criticism, Devlet Bahceli, head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which is allied to the AKP, lashed out at critics in a condolence message, stating, “No wave of attacks, slanders and accusations will break our stance.”