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Devastating Floods Cost Lives In Turkey, Bulgaria And Greece

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Heavy rain on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning caused floods in cities and towns in Southeast Bulgaria and Northwest Turkey also known as Thrace Region.

In Turkey, floods so far took 3 lives in Kirklareli province, and 3 others are still missing. Roads, bridges are closed and destroyed by floods between Igneada and Demirkoy districts near Bulgarian border.

In Istanbul, the largest city of the region, the Governor’s Office announced that two people lost their lives and 12 were injured in the Basaksehir and Kucukcekmece districts, as hundreds of businesses and residential buildings were devastated in addition to roads, industrial sites and metro lines.

“A total of 15,000 Turkish lira [some 500 euros] will be paid per household to families who were affected by floods,” Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya announced and added that search-and-rescue missions as well as investigations to determine the cost of damage still continue.

In Bulgaria, heavy rains since Monday have cost at least three lives, the Ministry of Interior said. The number is expected to rise. Two people are reported missing.

Infrastructural damage is unprecedented: media and authorities report that electricity cuts are occurring in affected towns, villages and resorts, several bridges have fallen and many roads between the towns and villages are blocked.

The heavy rains also caused two dams near the town of Tzarevo to overflow as well as the Veleka river near Sinemorets village.

The municipality in Tzarevo stated on Wednesday that it is drafting volunteers to help with rescue missions and the evacuation process. Some villages are completely submerged.

“The infrastructure in Bulgaria is not adequate for our present-day climate and climate change means there is a higher risk of such extreme events in future,” Ecological Minister Julian Popov told Nova TV on Wednesday.

On social media there is rising frustration with government inaction. Uncontrolled logging in forests and increased commercial construction around the coasts are seen as contributing factors to the current crisis. Similar worries triggered 2018 and 2020 anti-government protests.

The storm also essentially put an end to the summer tourist season on that part of the Bulgarian coast. According to Tourist Minister Zarica Dinkova, over 4,000 people have been affected by the emergency situation and tourists are being escorted out of resorts.

Heavy rain and storms also hit central Greece. At least two people died and three were missing on Wednesday after torrential rain flooded homes and businesses and destroyed infrastructure, Ekathimerini reported. Storm “Daniel”, which has battered Greece since Monday, triggered landslides, destroyed a bridge, caused the collapse of power poles and carried away dozens of cars in muddy waters, just days after a deadly wildfire hit the north of the country.

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