Flash floods kill at least 13 in Turkish quake zone

People stand on a raised pond looking at floodwaters in the city of Sanliurfa, southeastern Turkey, on March 15, 2023. – AFP
  • The floods have put more pressure on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
  • Heavy rains lashed the area late on Tuesday.
  • Many more people were washed away in the rushing water.

Istanbul: At least 13 people living in tents and container housing were killed in an earthquake-hit region of Turkey on Wednesday, increasing pressure on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of a crunch election.

Local media reports said many people were swept away by rushing water, which turned roads into rivers of mud in areas hit by last month’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake.

More than 48,000 people died. The February 6 disaster killed nearly 6,000 people in Turkey and Syria, the region’s deadliest in modern times.

Millions of people who survived Turkey’s earthquake have been moved into tents and container homes in the disaster zone, which spans 11 provinces of the country. Turkey’s Southeast

Heavy rains hit the area late Tuesday and the weather service expects them to continue late Wednesday.

Turkish media said 11 people were killed in floods in Sanliurfa, about 30 miles (50 km) north of the Syrian border.

Reports said that two people, including a one-year-old child, also died in nearby Adyaman.

Images show water sweeping away cars and flooding temporary shelters set up for earthquake victims.

The Sanliurfa governor’s office said flooding also reached the ground floor of one of the region’s main hospitals.

Pressure on Erdogan

Facing a tough re-election on May 14, Erdogan faces a fierce public backlash over his government’s tumultuous response to the worst natural disaster of his two decades in power.

Erdogan has issued several public apologies as well as emphasized that no nation could have dealt with such a massive disaster so quickly.

Erdogan visited the area in the past few weeks, met with survivors and promised to rebuild the entire area within a year.

“By the end of next year, we will build 319,000 houses,” Erdogan said in a parliamentary address to members of his ruling party on Wednesday.

He said that apart from the search and rescue, emergency relief and temporary shelters that we have provided so far, we have a promise to our nation that they will restore the cities destroyed in the earthquake within a year.

Erdogan dispatched his interior minister to oversee the government’s response to the flood-hit area.

“Currently, we have 10 teams of 163 people who are conducting search and rescue operations in an area of ​​25 kilometers,” Interior Minister Suleiman Soylu told reporters.

He said that we also have divers. But weather conditions are not allowing us to do much.

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