Ankara/Athens/Sofia, Sep 7 (EFE).- Flash floods caused by torrential rainfall in southeastern Europe have so far killed at least 14 people in Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria as the three nations braced for more rain on Thursday.
A man wades through floodwaters after floods hit the west districts of Istanbul, Turkey, 06 September 2023.
Turkish authorities have warned fresh heavy rains could strike several areas of the country where at least seven have died in recent days.
Rainfall could be particularly heavy in Istanbul, where at least two people have died, in Ankara and Izmir, the Turkish State Meteorological Service warned.
A yellow alert has been issued in 11 cities, the weather agency added.
Search efforts continued on Thursday in the northwestern Turkish Kirklareli province after a group of 12 got trapped in a hotel and swelling rainwaters swept away several bungalows.
Six tourists were rescued on Wednesday and so far the bodies of five people who were staying at the tourist complex located in İğneada, a town on the Black Sea coast, have been saved.
A team of around 900 people was assisting with the search and rescue operation along the valley that stretches for five kilometers (3.1 miles) where the hotel is located.
The owner of the resort, which was unlicensed, has been charged with negligent homicide and a warrant for his arrest has been issued.
Civilians try to fix the damage after the storm named Daniel, in the area of Volos, Magnesia, Greece, 07 September 2023. EFE/EPA/HATZIPOLITIS NICOLAOS
Storm Daniel has left record rainfall and for a third day in a row battered Greece, where so far three have died.
Several villages have awoken immersed in flood waters in a weather event authorities described as “unprecedented”.
The water level has reached the roofs of houses in the villages of Palamas and Metamorfosi, in the central region of Karditsa, where many of its 800 inhabitants had to climb onto roofs to reach safety.
“There are people who are trapped in their homes, the water level has exceeded one and a half meters,” the mayor of Palamas, Yorgos Sakelariu, told Skai radio station.
He added that it was likely some residents could have drowned and criticized delays in the arrival of aid.
Greece’s state broadcaster ERT said the Armed Forces, a special fire department team and helicopters had been deployed to rescue people trapped by the flash floods.
Storm Daniel has been classified as the most extreme weather phenomenon ever recorded in Greece, with record-breaking rain water levels in the regions of Magnesia, Trikala, the island of Euboea and the Sporades islands.
Greece’s Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister, Vasilis Kikilias, spoke of an “unprecedented” weather event that had left “enormous” damage to infrastructures.
In the region of Karditsa, the body of an 82-year-old man who had been swept away by an overflowing stream was located Wednesday night, bringing the death toll to three, while three other people remain missing.
In Magnesia’s capital Volos, some 200,000 people remained without electricity and water for two days, amid extensive damage to homes, premises, and the road network across central mainland Greece.
Heavy rains left a record 754 liters per square meter in 24 hours on Tuesday in the town of Zagora, also in Magnesia, almost double the previous record in 2009.
Several other areas in central Greece recorded rainfall that exceeded 400 liters per square meter in just 24 hours.
According to the National Meteorological Service, heavy rains will persist until Thursday afternoon when the storm is expected to subside.
The storm comes after a summer marked by several scorching heat waves and dozens of fires that have decimated over 150,000 hectares of land and left 25 dead.
A closed road deteriorated by heavy flooding in Tsarevo, Bulgaria, 06 September 2023. EFE/EPA/STR
In Bulgaria, a search was underway Thursday for several missing persons.
The municipality of Tsarevo, on the shores of the Black Sea in Bulgaria’s southeastern border with Turkey, has been the most affected region with authorities declaring a state of emergency.
Tsarevo mayor, Georgi Lapchev, told the BNR radio station that residents were caught in their cars on a bridge that crumbled under the swollen local river.
Two reservoirs in Tsarevo overflowed, tearing down several bridges and immersing the entire village.
According to Novonite, a Bulgarian news provider in English, four people have died, including the president of the Tsarevo District Court, Judge Maria Moskova, her daughter and two other men.
Lapchev will be assessing the damage with a special committee which he told reporters would likely be “tens of millions of leva,” the official was cited as saying by Novonite. EFE