Opposition calls out Turkish gov't over fatal flooding in Black Sea region

The leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on Saturday called on the government to provide financial aid to the employees of businesses affected by fatal flooding in the Black Sea region while pointing to what he called preventable destruction in the area.

The region's historic bridges, which are up to 200 years old, were not affected by the latest flooding, while “newly constructed bridges have been almost entirely destroyed,’’ Diken news site cited Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu as saying on Saturday, when he visited the area.

At least 55 people have died from severe coastal flooding and mudslides in Kastamonu, Bartın and Sinop provinces in northern Turkey, according to the country’s disaster agency. 

Hundreds of people have been reported missing after torrential rains over the provinces on Wednesday caused flooding that demolished homes, severing at least five bridges and turning numerous roads impassable.

Families of those missing after what is being called the country's worst floods in years watched on Saturday as rescue teams searched buildings amid fears of a higher death toll.

“There are at least 150-200 workers here,’’ the CHP leader said, referring to a disaster area in Sinop’s town of Ayancık. “These works must be compensated with minimum wage at the very least. We are making this call.’’

The CHP leader went on to say that bridges built during the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) 18 years of rule had been destroyed in the floods.

“The bridges built a hundred years ago were designed and built by people who were aware of nature,’’ he said. “But the new bridges have been designed by those who lack awareness of nature and failed to foresee the future.’’

Meanwhile, another CHP official, deputy chairman Engin Altay on Saturday said over 300 people were reported missing since the floods.

The government has yet to release official data on the number of missing persons.

“When we listen to our citizens in Bozkurt, there is a sense that there are 1,000 people missing,’’Diken cited Altay as saying. “The information given to me there stated that over 300 are missing.’’

The government must be more transparent on the matter, the CHP official said. 

“We want to know how many deaths, how many bodies there are. The numbers given by the state and the figures observed while we were there are very different,’’ Altay said.

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