Only days after wildfires ripped through southern Turkey, razing whole villages and forcing thousands to flee, rescue crews struggled on Thursday to evacuate scores of people and find the missing after heavy rain caused flash flooding in the northwestern region of the country.
At least nine people have been killed in the floods, which have affected three provinces, according to Turkish authorities, and at least five children are missing.
In the small town of Bozkurt, in the Kastamonu Province, four young children from the same extended family were missing.
Fatih Karaalioglu, an uncle of the children, made a plea for help on Twitter.
“Our children are under the ruins,” he wrote. “Help us.”
The children, Ecrin and Iclal Yuksel, 12-year-old twins, and two related siblings, Kerem Ali and Ayse Miray Ozdogan, were alone at home when the flood hit, Mr. Karaalioglu wrote. Initially the family thought they had been evacuated from the building where they were. The building had collapsed, and the family later learned the children had not been taken to safety.
As of Thursday afternoon, rescue teams were working on the ruins of the building, video showed.
Rescue teams are searching the area, said Hasan Baltaci, a lawmaker who represents Kastamonu Province. Speaking from Bozkurt, he said at least three buildings collapsed on just one street.
In the nearby province of Bartin, an 80-year-old woman was reported missing and 13 people were reported injured. Local media also reported that a 13-year-old girl was among the missing. But, Turkey’s emergency management agency, AFAD, could not confirm yet exactly how many people are unaccounted for.
Dozens of people have been rescued from flood-hit areas since Wednesday, some by military helicopter. As evacuation efforts continued, the authorities warned about the risk of further flooding and landslides.
Residents climbed on the rooftops of their buildings to escape rising waters, video from the area showed. Buses, cars and houses had toppled into the muddy waters that flooded the streets of towns and villages.
“We are watching our city to be destroyed,” Muammer Yanik, the mayor of Bozkurt, told the Turkish broadcaster NTV. “Citizens are waiting on rooftops to be saved.”
The flooding was caused by heavy rains, which pushed rivers in the region to brim over onto the streets, with water levels reaching a height of between 9 and 13 feet in some places, according to officials.
One hospital was evacuated in the province of Sinop, and six patients were sent to another facility by helicopter. Tents and beds were sent to Kastamonu Province as part of the relief efforts, the AFAD, said in a statement.
Turkish authorities had been fighting deadly wildfires that mainly hit the south of the country, killing eight people and injuring hundreds.
In the last two weeks, firefighters have managed to get more than 280 fires around the country under control.