Page last updated at 11:36 GMT, Wednesday, 9 September 2009 12:36 UK

Turks swept away in flash floods


Turkey flash floods strand drivers

At least 23 people have been killed and a number of others are missing after flash floods in north-west Turkey.

The flooding struck districts in and around Turkey's largest city of Istanbul, swamping houses and roads.

Cars were swept away and some drivers were trapped inside their vehicles. TV pictures showed roads near Istanbul's main airport submerged by deep water.

The flooding was caused by two days of torrential rainfall - the worst in 80 years.


As waters rose, police and military helicopters rescued people from rooftops in Istanbul and its suburbs. Boats were also deployed to move stranded people to safety.

My friend got stuck in the truck after the water rose all at once. The vehicle stopped working after filling with water. We rescued him with a winch
Kamil Coskun, Istanbul resident

The worst flooding was in low-lying areas in the western (European) part of the city straddling the Bosphorus Strait, which divides Europe from Asia.

Istanbul's Deputy Governor Hikmet Cakmak described the scene in the Ikitelli district as a "disaster", Turkish media report.

"My friend got stuck in the truck after the water rose all at once. The vehicle stopped working after filling with water. We rescued him with a winch," resident Kamil Coskun told Reuters in Ikitelli.

Roads, homes and farming land were submerged in nearby towns and at least two bridges collapsed.

"We are saddened by the loss of lives. There are still some people missing and we are searching for them," Turkish Procurement Minister Mustafa Demir was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

The flooding was caused by torrential rainfall that has been lashing the area since Monday. It has been reported in Turkey that one area received 24cm (10in) of rain in just two hours.

More rain is forecast for north-western Turkey in the coming days.

BBC correspondent David O'Byrne, in Istanbul, said he was kept awake for two hours during the night by "thunder and lightning and very heavy rain".

But he said that the centre has not really been affected by flooding.

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