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Heavy rains kill at least 11 in Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria

2023-09-06T15:42:36.686Z

Highlights: At least 11 people have died in torrential rains in Turkey and Bulgaria but also in Greece. In Spain, a country that is on the front line of global warming, bad weather after months of drought has left three dead and three missing in recent days. In Turkey, according to the latest assessment, at least six people died Tuesday night, including two in Istanbul. In neighboring Bulgaria, where the rain had also stopped by midday Wednesday, at at least three people died on Tuesday and two are missing on the Black Sea coast.


After heat waves and violent fires, several European countries are affected by significant rains.


At least 11 people died on Tuesday (September 5th) in torrential rains in Turkey and Bulgaria but also in Greece, just emerging from a summer of devastating fires, according to the authorities of these countries on Wednesday. In Spain, a country that is on the front line of global warming, bad weather after months of drought has left three dead and three missing in recent days, according to authorities.

In Turkey, according to the latest assessment, at least six people died Tuesday night, including two in Istanbul where the rain had stopped Wednesday morning. Emergency services also reported four deaths in the northwestern province of Kirklareli, where two other people remain missing.

Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said 31 people were injured, eight of whom were still hospitalized in Istanbul, where streets had been turned into torrents. A metro station was partially flooded and dozens of people had to be evacuated from a municipal library, according to media reports.

The equivalent of several months of rain

The rains follow a particularly dry summer that saw water reservoirs in the city of 16 million people fall to their lowest level in nine years. In neighboring Bulgaria, where the rain had also stopped by midday Wednesday, at least three people died on Tuesday and two are missing on the Black Sea coast. Thousands of tourists were affected.

In 24 hours, the equivalent of several months of rain, the most since 1994, according to rescue official Alexandrar Djartov. The hardest-hit Bulgarian city of Tsarevo declared a day of mourning. A 61-year-old construction worker drowned, and the body of another man, spotted by drone, was recovered, according to regional police chief Emil Pavlov.

A woman was swept away by the raging sea, although it is not known at this stage if she is one of the two missing persons. "About 4,000 people are affected," said Bulgarian Tourism Minister Zaritsa Dinkova who visited the site, citing difficulties in evacuating them.

"The most extreme phenomenon in terms of water quantity"

While the Black Sea coastline is rarely hit by floods, Bulgaria is seeing these phenomena increase against a backdrop of climate change. Environment Minister Julian Popov warned on Nova television of the danger posed by "the poor state of infrastructure and too much construction on the coast".

In Greece, bordering Turkey and Bulgaria, a storm named "Daniel" has been raging since Monday night. Two people died Tuesday in the central region of Magnesia and at least four are missing. The Greek Civil Protection warned that torrential rains would continue on Wednesday before a setback on Thursday.

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This is the most extreme phenomenon in terms of the amount of water that has fallen in the space of 24 hours since Greece has archives on the subject, "said Tuesday the Minister of Civil Protection, Vassilis Kikilias.

"An unprecedented phenomenon in the country's meteorological data"

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It seems that the mountainous region of Magnesia was affected by 600 to 800 mm of rain in 24 hours," "an unprecedented phenomenon in the country's meteorological data," measured since 1955, said Dimitris Ziakopoulos, a government meteorologist expert.

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This is an extreme phenomenon," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said. The torrential rains mainly affected the central department of Magnesia and its capital, the port city of Volos, 331 km north of Athens. An 87-year-old woman missing since Tuesday "was found dead Wednesday in the village of Paltsi in Magnesia bringing the total number of victims of these heavy rains to two," Yannis Artopios, the spokesman for the fire brigade, told ERT on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, a 51-year-old man swept away by a swollen torrent was found dead near Volos. In addition to Magnesia and the neighbouring island of Skiathos, the departments of Trikala and Karditsa, further north, are also affected and the authorities have restricted travel there.

"I have never seen such a phenomenon"

The buildings and streets of Volos and nearby villages were flooded by swollen rivers and torrents. Volos has been without electricity since Tuesday night and in villages near Mount Pelion many buildings and streets have been severely damaged by floods and landslides, according to an AFP journalist on the spot.

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I have never seen such a phenomenon, thousands of shops and buildings have been flooded in Volos and no one is there to help us," Vassilis Tsalamouras, 58, told AFP. The National Weather Service (EMY) had issued a warning on Monday and the government assures that "the authorities are on alert". This storm comes after devastating fires this summer in Greece (at least 26 dead) one of which, described as "the largest ever recorded" in the European Union, ravaged for two weeks in August the Dadia National Park in Evros (North).

With global warming, the atmosphere contains more water vapor (about 7% for each additional degree), increasing the chances of heavy rainfall events that, combined with other factors such as urbanization, lead to flooding.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-09-06

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