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Turkey flash flood deaths rise to 27 after emergency workers recover more bodies overnight


The death toll from Turkey’s flash floods rose to 27 on Friday after search and rescue crews recovered 10 more bodies overnight, with dozens still missing.   

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was preparing to inspect hardest-hit Kastamonu and lend his moral support on Friday after more than 1,700 people were evacuated across the region, many being temporarily housed at student dormitories.

Meanwhile, wildfires that have ravaged Greece for more than a week were brought under control on Friday, with the fire department saying there were no longer any ‘major active front, just scattered pockets’. 

It is the latest in a bout of extreme weather in the Mediterranean which has also baked in blistering temperatures this week and which are expected to rise again on Friday as the ‘Lucifer’ heat dome continues to grip southern Europe.       

The death toll from Turkey’s flash floods soared to 27 on Friday as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan prepared to inspect one of the hardest-hit regions and lend his moral support

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was preparing to inspect hardest-hit Kastamonu and lend his moral support on Friday after more than 1,700 people were evacuated across the region, many being temporarily housed at student dormitories

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was preparing to inspect hardest-hit Kastamonu and lend his moral support on Friday after more than 1,700 people were evacuated across the region, many being temporarily housed at student dormitories

Search and rescue workers evacuate a girl during flash floods that have killed 27 in Bozkurt, a town in Kastamonu province, Turkey

Search and rescue workers evacuate a girl during flash floods that have killed 27 in Bozkurt, a town in Kastamonu province, Turkey

World scientists believe that natural disasters like those in Turkey are becoming more intense and frequent because of global warming and climate change

World scientists believe that natural disasters like those in Turkey are becoming more intense and frequent because of global warming and climate change

Floods in Turkey are the latest in a bout of extreme weather in the Mediterranean which has baked in blistering temperatures this week and which are expected to rise again on Friday as the 'Lucifer' heat dome continues to grip southern Europe

Floods in Turkey are the latest in a bout of extreme weather in the Mediterranean which has baked in blistering temperatures this week and which are expected to rise again on Friday as the ‘Lucifer’ heat dome continues to grip southern Europe

The devastation across Turkey’s northern Black Sea regions came just as the disaster-hit country was winning control over hundreds of wildfires that killed eight people and destroyed swathes of forest along its scenic southern coast. 

Turkey also suffered another bout of flooding in the northeastern province of Rize last month that killed six.  

In worst-hit Kastamonu, a stream burst its banks inundating much of the town of Bozkurt, where most of the victims were found. One building was demolished and two others were severely damaged amid torrents of floodwaters.

The Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, or AFAD, said on Friday that crews are still searching for a woman who was reported missing in Bartin province. Private NTV television said however, that dozens of people remain unaccounted for.

They include 12-year-old twin sisters and their grandparents who were trapped inside an eight-story building in Bozkurt, their mother told private DHA news agency.

Speaking in Bozkurt late on Thursday, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu described the scenes as ‘the most severe flood disaster I have seen.’  

‘The destruction is huge,’ Kerem Kinik, head of the Turkish Red Crescent, told NTV. ‘I hope that the missing are safe and that the number of deaths doesn’t increase.’

Bozkurt resident Yilmaz Ersevenli told NTV that he left his house to move his car to a safe area as the waters began to rise, but soon got swept away by the gushing floods. He managed to save himself by holding on to a tree that had also washed away.

‘I nearly lost my life trying to save my car,’ he said.

In Bartin province, at least 13 people were injured when a section of a bridge caved in.

In total, five bridges collapsed in the floods while two others were damaged, AFAD said. Dozens of villages are still without power and several roads remain blocked. 

Residents survey the damage after flash floods and mudslides caused by heavy rainfall in Zafer village, Turkey on Friday

Residents survey the damage after flash floods and mudslides caused by heavy rainfall in Zafer village, Turkey on Friday

Search and rescue efforts in Bozkurt district of Kastamonu, Turkey, continued on Friday morning after the death toll from the flash floods rose to 27

Search and rescue efforts in Bozkurt district of Kastamonu, Turkey, continued on Friday morning after the death toll from the flash floods rose to 27

Search and rescue efforts continued on Friday morning ahead of a visit from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Search and rescue efforts continued on Friday morning ahead of a visit from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Cars were left strewn across streets and stuck in mud after floods and mudslides hit a residential area in Bozkurt district of Kastamonu in Turkey

Cars were left strewn across streets and stuck in mud after floods and mudslides hit a residential area in Bozkurt district of Kastamonu in Turkey

Turkey's disaster and emergency agency said severe floods and mudslides had killed at least 29 people with others missing on Thursday

Turkey’s disaster and emergency agency said severe floods and mudslides had killed at least 29 people with others missing on Thursday

TURKEY: The floods battered the Black Sea coastal provinces of Bartin, Kastamonu, Sinop and Samsun on Wednesday, demolishing homes and bridges and sweeping away cars as helicopters scrambled to rescue people stranded on rooftops

TURKEY: The floods battered the Black Sea coastal provinces of Bartin, Kastamonu, Sinop and Samsun on Wednesday, demolishing homes and bridges and sweeping away cars as helicopters scrambled to rescue people stranded on rooftops

Search and Rescue team members evacuate locals during flash floods which have swept through towns in the Turkish Black Sea region

Search and Rescue team members evacuate locals during flash floods which have swept through towns in the Turkish Black Sea region

World scientists believe that natural disasters like those in Turkey are becoming more intense and frequent because of global warming and climate change.

They also pose a serious challenge to Erdogan two years before Turkey’s next scheduled general election.

The powerful Turkish leader was roundly condemned on social media for tossing out bags of tea to locals while visiting one of the fire-ravaged regions when the wildfires were first spreading at the end of July.

Polls show that the climate is a top priority for up to seven million members of Generation Z whose votes Erdogan will need to extend his rule into a third decade in the 2023 vote.

Erdogan has so far said little about the flooding.

‘I offer my condolences to the loved ones of our 17 fellow citizens who lost their lives,’ he said when the toll was still 17 on Thursday night.

His office said that Erdogan was speaking on the phone to regional leaders and promising to deliver all the assistance available to the state. 

Emergency services said waters briefly rose in some parts as high as 13ft (4m) before subsiding and spreading across a region stretching more than 240km (150 miles) wide.

Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli warned on Wednesday that the area was facing ‘a disaster that we had not seen in 50 or 100 years’.

Rescuers have been forced to evacuate a hospital holding 45 patients – four of them in intensive care – in the region around the coastal city of Sinop.

Images on television and social media showed stranded villagers being plucked off rooftops by helicopter and bridges collapsing under the force of the rushing water below.

The Anadolu state news agency said Thursday that rescuers were focusing on a four-floor apartment building that partially crumbled and another one next to it that completely collapsed.

Images showed parts of both river-front buildings toppling into the rushing flood of brown water below.

Turkey’s disaster response authority said 25 people had lost their lives in the northern Kastamonu province and two in the neighbouring region of Sinop. One person was still missing.

Weather services predicted rains to continue to lash the affected area for the remainder of week. 

Flames rise after a forest fire broke out in Bucak district of Burdur, Turkey

Flames rise after a forest fire broke out in Bucak district of Burdur, Turkey

TURKEY: Firefighters are still working to extinguish wildfires in Mugla province, an area popular with tourists that runs along the Aegean Sea

TURKEY: Firefighters are still working to extinguish wildfires in Mugla province, an area popular with tourists that runs along the Aegean Sea

TURKEY: At least eight people and countless animals died and thousands of residents have had to flee fierce blazes

TURKEY: At least eight people and countless animals died and thousands of residents have had to flee fierce blazes 

The devastation across Turkey's northern Black Sea regions came just as the disaster-hit country was winning control over hundreds of wildfires that killed eight people and destroyed swathes of forest along its scenic southern coast

The devastation across Turkey’s northern Black Sea regions came just as the disaster-hit country was winning control over hundreds of wildfires that killed eight people and destroyed swathes of forest along its scenic southern coast

GREECE WILDFIRES UNDER CONTROL  

Fires burning for over a week that caused Greece’s worst ecological disaster in decades were finally brought under control on Friday.  

The fire department said there was no longer any ‘major active front, just scattered pockets’ of wildfires.   

Rain and falling temperatures helped the fire-dousing effort, but crews remain on alert for possible flare-ups in hard-to-access ravines on the island of Evia and in the region of Arcadia in the Peloponnese, a spokesman said.

But with high winds forecast for the weekend, the bulk of a huge multinational force that assisted Greek firefighters this week remains in place, civil protection spokesman Spyros Georgiou said.

‘They are helping to monitor the perimeters of burned areas in Evia and Arcadia, which are many kilometres (miles) long,’ he said.

‘Many of them are actually requesting to remain,’ Georgiou said. 

Mitsotakis on Friday appointed a new minister in charge of recovery from natural disasters in a bid to defuse growing anger over the struggle to curb wildfires that have charred thousands of hectares of forest. 

The new deputy minister, Christos Triantopoulos, will be responsible for aid and recovery from natural disasters, a new post created to compensate businesses and families hard hit by recent blazes. 

Hundreds of homes and many businesses have been destroyed in Evia, Arcadia and the outskirts of Athens in the prolonged fire wave that struck Greece from late July and intensified last week, during the worst heatwave in decades.

Greece is just one of a number of countries in the Mediterranean region that have been hit by a savage fire season.

Heatwaves have become more likely due to climate change, scientists say. As global temperatures rise over time, heatwaves are predicted to become more frequent and intense, and their impacts more widespread.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday described the infernos as Greece’s ‘greatest ecological disaster in decades’.

He pledged hundreds of millions of euros in reconstruction, reforestation and flood prevention works.

‘[Recovery funds] will begin to be disbursed in a few days… and they will be greater than ever before, to all those affected,’ the prime minister told a news conference on Thursday.

The government has come under withering criticism from locals in stricken areas whose income from agricultural products and tourism has been wiped out.

There have been growing calls for the resignation of top public safety officials who as recently as June had insisted that the country was well-prepared.

Mitsotakis on Thursday said the country had battled some 600 blazes in a week, some of them ‘mega fires’.

But he admitted: ‘It seemed that this particular phenomenon exceeded our capabilities and the preparations put in place.’   

An aerial photograph of forest near the village of Pefki on the island of Evia, Greece, shows the damage caused by wildfires that burned for over a week

An aerial photograph of forest near the village of Pefki on the island of Evia, Greece, shows the damage caused by wildfires that burned for over a week 

Fires burning for over a week that caused Greece's worst ecological disaster in decades were finally brought under control on Friday after thousands of hectares of forest went up in flames

Fires burning for over a week that caused Greece’s worst ecological disaster in decades were finally brought under control on Friday after thousands of hectares of forest went up in flames

A shepherd walks with his goats near a burnt area around Krioneritis village on Evia island on Thursday after devastating fires ravaged the region

A shepherd walks with his goats near a burnt area around Krioneritis village on Evia island on Thursday after devastating fires ravaged the region

Greek villagers have refused to evacuate and are working around the clock to save their homes as wildfires continued to ravage the island of Evia

Greek villagers have refused to evacuate and are working around the clock to save their homes as wildfires continued to ravage the island of Evia

HEAT WARNINGS FOR SPAIN, FRANCE, ITALY AND PORTUGAL 

Temperatures have soared over southern Europe this week and are forecast to peak again on Friday with highs of 104F (40C) expected in Italy. 

Meanwhile the Spanish weather office said that 15 of Spain’s 17 regions were on alert for high temperatures, with the mercury forecast to reach highs of between 97F and 104F (36-40C) on Friday in much of the country. 

Temperatures could hit 115F (46F) in the provinces of Seville, Cordoba and Jaen in the southwestern Andalusia region. 

Hot weather, also expected to push the mercury to 104F (40C) in Portugal, is expected to last until Monday.   

Temperatures topped 100F (38C) by early afternoon on Thursday in Rome, as the 'Lucifer' heat dome kept its grip on southern Turkey

Temperatures topped 100F (38C) by early afternoon on Thursday in Rome, as the ‘Lucifer’ heat dome kept its grip on southern Turkey

Stifling heat hit Rome on Thursday, driving people indoors at midday, triggering drinking water restrictions, and turning public libraries into cooling 'climate shelters'

Stifling heat hit Rome on Thursday, driving people indoors at midday, triggering drinking water restrictions, and turning public libraries into cooling ‘climate shelters’

The local National Health Service offices in Rome and Bologna telephoned older residents who live alone to see if they needed groceries or medicines delivered so they wouldn't venture out in the searing heat

The local National Health Service offices in Rome and Bologna telephoned older residents who live alone to see if they needed groceries or medicines delivered so they wouldn’t venture out in the searing heat

A young boy cools off in a fountain in Piazza Castello in Turin as temperatures topped 100F across much of southern Europe - and are expected to rise again on Friday

A young boy cools off in a fountain in Piazza Castello in Turin as temperatures topped 100F across much of southern Europe – and are expected to rise again on Friday

Meanwhile firefighters brought a wildfire in a forest in Spain’s northeastern region of Catalonia under control on  Friday as scorching temperatures put most of the country at risk for blazes.

About 100 firefighters worked overnight to tame the blaze in the Spanish province of Tarragona, which forced the evacuation on Thursday of about 30 campers and has destroyed about 75 hectares (185 acres) of protected forest, Catalonia’s firefighting service said in a tweet.

The fire was under control on Friday morning, but 11 water trucks, a helicopter and two water-dropping planes were still at the scene of the blaze, the service added.

Elsewhere in Spain, dozens of firefighters were battling a wildfire which broke out on Thursday evening near the town of Rubia, in the verdant northwestern region of Galicia.

This fire has so far destroyed about 200 hectares of land, the regional government of Galicia said in a tweet.   

ALGERIA ARRESTS 22 SUSPECTED ARSONISTS AFTER WILDFIRES KILL 69

Algeria has arrested 22 people suspected of being behind the most devastating wildfires in the country’s history that killed 65 people, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said on Thursday, calling the fires a ‘disaster’ and urging the preservation of national unity.

Dozens of forest fires have hit mountainous areas in northern Algeria since Monday, mainly in Tizi Ouzou, the main province of the Kabylie region east of the capital, Algiers.

‘Some fires have been caused by high temperatures but criminal hands were behind most of them,’ Tebboune said in a live speech on state television.

‘We have arrested 22 suspects, including 11 in Tizi Ouzou. Justice will perform its duty.’

At least 28 military men were among the dead as the North African country deployed the army to help firefighters contain fires that ravaged several houses in forested areas.

‘It’s a disaster … disaster. But our strength will not collapse,’ Tebboune said, praising aid caravans from other provinces to provide affected regions with food, medicine and donations of other material.

‘We must preserve national unity… I insist on national unity,’ he added.

In addition to soldiers on the ground, the army has been using six helicopters to extinguish blazes. The are supported by two firefighting planes hired from the European Union and which have been in action since early Thursday.

The government will receive two more planes from Spain on Friday and a third one from Switzerland in the next three days, Tebboune said.

Tebboune has declared three days of national mourning starting on Thursday after the death toll climbed to at least 69, including 28 soldiers deployed to help overstretched emergency services.

Residents in Tizi Ouzou, Algeria, desperately try to extinguish wildfires after at least 69 people, including 28 soldiers, were killed fighting the blazes

Residents in Tizi Ouzou, Algeria, desperately try to extinguish wildfires after at least 69 people, including 28 soldiers, were killed fighting the blazes

Algeria has arrested 22 people suspected of being behind the most devastating wildfires in the country's history that killed 65 people

Algeria has arrested 22 people suspected of being behind the most devastating wildfires in the country’s history that killed 65 people

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has declared three days of national mourning starting on Thursday after the death toll climbed to at least 69, including 28 soldiers deployed to help overstretched emergency services

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has declared three days of national mourning starting on Thursday after the death toll climbed to at least 69, including 28 soldiers deployed to help overstretched emergency services

Volunteers unloaded humanitarian aid to people affected by the wildfires in Ait Daoud village, in the region of Kabylie in Algeria

Volunteers unloaded humanitarian aid to people affected by the wildfires in Ait Daoud village, in the region of Kabylie in Algeria

A woman carries bottles of water for people affected by wildfires in the village of Ait Daoud, in northern Algeria on Thursday

A woman carries bottles of water for people affected by wildfires in the village of Ait Daoud, in northern Algeria on Thursday

UN REPORT: MAN-MADE GLOBAL WARMING MUST BE REVERSED

The UN report, which as been dubbed a ‘code red for humanity’, said the Earth is likely to warm by 1.5C within the next 20 years — a decade earlier than previously expected — and heatwaves, flooding and droughts will become more frequent and intense.

Scientists had expected temperatures to rise by 1.5C above pre-industrial levels between 2030 and 2052 but now believe it will happen between this year and 2040. 

‘It’s just guaranteed that it’s going to get worse,’ said report co-author Linda Mearns, a senior climate scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research. ‘I don’t see any area that is safe… Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.’ 

The report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was produced by 200 scientists from 60 countries.

Drawing on more than 14,000 scientific papers, the review included the latest knowledge on past and potential future warming, how humans are changing the climate and how that is increasing extreme weather events and driving sea-level rises.

The authors said it was ‘virtually certain’ that heatwaves ‘have become more frequent and more intense across most land regions’.

They also said a rise in sea levels approaching two metres by the end of this century ‘cannot be ruled out’, while the Arctic is likely to be ‘practically sea ice-free’ in September at least once before 2050.  

If temperatures continue to rise, there could be devastating effects here on Earth, including a dramatic loss of sea-life, an ice-free Arctic and more regular 'extreme' weather

If temperatures continue to rise, there could be devastating effects here on Earth, including a dramatic loss of sea-life, an ice-free Arctic and more regular ‘extreme’ weather

‘We can’t wait. The signs are unmistakable’: Biden urges US action after doomsday UN report says global warming is ALREADY causing extreme weather and the world will heat up by 2.7F by 2040 – a decade earlier than forecast 

US President Joe Biden has sounded the alarm on climate change following the release of a bombshell United Nations report dubbed a ‘a code red for humanity.’

‘We can’t wait to tackle the climate crisis. The signs are unmistakable. The science is undeniable. And the cost of inaction keeps mounting,’ Biden said in a statement Monday, as he urged the US and world nations to swiftly limit greenhouses gasses.

The Earth is likely to warm by 2.7F within the next 20 years – a decade earlier than previously expected – and heatwaves, flooding and droughts will become more frequent and intense, according to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment.

On Monday, 234 experts warned in the report that the US is headed for disaster. Flooding, deadly fires and heat waves will not only become the norm but will intensify in a warming world, warns the 3,949-page assessment.

Humans have already heated the planet by roughly 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1C), since the 19th century, largely by burning coal, oil and gas for energy – with the US being one of the world’s top producers.

Scientists had expected temperatures to rise by 2.7F (1.5C) above pre-industrial levels between 2030 and 2052 but now believe it will happen between this year and 2040.

However, some experts say there is still hope that cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases could stabilise rising temperatures.

Scientists involved in the report said the 1.5C or 2C thresholds are not cliff edges the world will fall off, but that every bit of warming makes a difference, so it is important to curb temperature rises as much as possible.

Professor Richard Betts, from the Met Office Hadley Centre and a contributing author to the report, said: ‘Like the speed limit on a motorway, staying below it is not perfectly safe and exceeding it does not immediately lead to calamity, but the risks do increase if the limit is passed.

‘Limiting warming to 1.5C clearly needs much more urgent emissions cuts than is currently happening, but if the target is still breached we should not assume all is lost and give up – it will still be worth continuing action on emissions reductions to avoid even more warming.’ 

The report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was produced by 200 scientists from 60 countries.

Drawing on more than 14,000 scientific papers, the review included the latest knowledge on past and potential future warming, how humans are changing the climate and how that is increasing extreme weather events and driving sea-level rises.

The authors said it was ‘virtually certain’ that heatwaves ‘have become more frequent and more intense across most land regions’.

They also said a rise in sea levels approaching two metres by the end of this century ‘cannot be ruled out’, while the Arctic is likely to be ‘practically sea ice-free’ in September at least once before 2050. 

Following the report, Prime Minister Boris Johnson called it ‘sobering reading’ and said it was clear the next decade was going to be pivotal to securing the future of the planet.

‘We know what must be done to limit global warming – consign coal to history and shift to clean energy sources, protect nature and provide climate finance for countries on the frontline,’ he added. 

And US President Joe Biden urged the country and world nations to swiftly limit greenhouses gasses.

He said in a statement: ‘We can’t wait to tackle the climate crisis. The signs are unmistakable. The science is undeniable. And the cost of inaction keeps mounting.’ 

Meanwhile UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the new report a ‘code red for humanity’.

He warned: ‘The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk.’

And Anthony Blinken, US Secretary of State, said in a statement: ‘Today, the United States joined nearly 200 IPCC member governments in approving the Working Group I contribution to the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report.

‘The report finds we are already edging closer to a 1.5 degrees Celsius [2.7F] warmer world, and every day emissions rise the prospects for averting the worst impacts of climate change become dimmer. 

‘This is why it is essential that all countries – in particular the major economies – do their part during this critical decade of the 2020s to put the world on a trajectory to keep a 1.5 degrees Celsius [2.7F] limit on warming within reach.

‘This is why the United States has committed to a 50-52 percent reduction in emissions from 2005 levels in 2030 and is marshaling the entire federal government to tackle the climate crisis. We cannot delay ambitious climate action any longer.’

The UN scientists modelled the changes in annual mean temperatures worldwide based on 2.7F (1.5C), 3.6F (2C) and 7.2F (4C) global warming

The UN scientists modelled the changes in annual mean temperatures worldwide based on 2.7F (1.5C), 3.6F (2C) and 7.2F (4C) global warming

These graphs show how human influence has warmed the climate at a rate unprecedented in at least the last 2,000 years

These graphs show how human influence has warmed the climate at a rate unprecedented in at least the last 2,000 years

The projected changes in extremes are larger in frequency and intensity with every additional increment of global warming

The projected changes in extremes are larger in frequency and intensity with every additional increment of global warming



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