The Black Sea region has grappled with an influx of flash floods this week that damaged buildings, devastated bridges, stranded locals and killed at least one person.
As the province of Ordu focused on clean-up efforts, an onslaught of floods hit Rize, another province in this northern Turkish region, late Thursday. Senior officials pledged aid to citizens affected by floods and warned against construction on river banks because of the risk flooding with heavy precipitation.
A night of heavy rainfall led to massive floods in Rize. A main road connecting province's districts was closed down due to landslides while basements and lower floors of multi-story buildings were flooded. Roads to 15 villages were closed while rescue crews evacuated people stranded in landslide-hit towns and villages.
On Friday, people were still reeling from flash floods that hit the Perşembe, Fatsa and Ünye districts most. Floodwaters were drained, leaving behind piles of debris. Residents tried their best to sweep the debris from their houses and shops and assisted crews clearing the streets.
Authorities said the damage was limited in the flood-hit areas, save from the region's hazelnut farms. Ordu's economy largely relies on hazelnut production which took a serious blow with floods washing away newly harvested crops. Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli announced that one-third of the hazelnut yield in Ordu was in flood-stricken areas and "likely" losses were recorded as 600 to 700 tons. The minister said they would take necessary steps to compensate for the losses. He also announced a postponement on the payback of agriculture loans for hazelnut farmers affected by the floods. "I lost some 500 kilos of hazelnuts. They washed out into the stream and to the sea from there," İhsan Musaoğlu, a hazelnut producer from the province's İkizce district, told Anadolu Agency (AA). He said they are paying workers daily wages but they are only able to work two hours a day due to heavy rains. "It has been a difficult season for us. We expect the state to help pay for our damages," he said.
Floods are common in Turkey's Black Sea region where the North Anatolian Mountain range runs parallel to the coast with narrow valleys and lush vegetation, allowing little space for urban settlements and transport infrastructure.
Since most settlements are located in valleys and built too close to riverbeds due to the lack of space, coupled with the lack of planning and monitoring, flooding is quite common, particularly in the summer.