Heatwave HELL in Europe: Flash floods kill 55 people in Turkey while wildfires ravage hillsides – as ‘Lucifer’ heat dome sweeps continent with record 120F highs
- Flash floods in Turkey have now killed 55 people after dozens of buildings collapsed in the Black Sea region
- Survivors accused authorities of not giving them proper warning and allowing building inside flood zones
- Officials also confirmed eight people had died in a plane crash during fire-fighting missing in country’s south
- Comes as southern Europe is hit by record temperatures due to the ‘Lucifer’ heat dome
- Spain recorded 116C in Seville while 16 Italian cities have been put on red alert for temperatures above 110F
The death toll in Turkey’s devastating flash floods has now climbed to 55 victims with hundreds more missing – as the country battles disaster on two fronts after eight more people died in a fire-fighting aircraft crash.
The country’s official disaster agency AFAD said teams were combing through the rubble of dozens of homes that collapsed due to the floods that hit Black Sea regions after heavy rains.
It comes as southern Europe swelters in near record-breaking temperatures due to the ‘Lucifer’ heat dome and wildfires consume hillsides on Turkey’s southern coast areas.
In the village of Babacay in the northern province of Sinop, 40 houses and two bridges were completely destroyed by the floods, according to state news agency Anadolu.
The latest official death toll published Saturday by AFAD stood at 55, with nine other people in hospital.
Floods survivors accused local authorities of not giving them proper warning about the dangers of incoming storms and that several collapsed buildings had been built in flood zones.
Flash flooding in Turkey has claimed at least 55 lives, the country’s official disaster agency AFAD confirmed last night. Pictured: Partly collapsed buildings are seen after the deadly flash floods in Bozkurt district of Kastamonu
Rescue teams were still combing through the rubble of dozens of homes that collapsed due to the floods that hit Black Sea regions after heavy rains
Floods survivors accused local authorities of not giving them proper warning about the dangers of incoming storms and that several collapsed buildings had been built in flood zones
In Bozkurt in Kastamonu province, one eight-storey building constructed on the banks of the Ezine river collapsed
In Bozkurt in Kastamonu province, one eight-storey building constructed on the banks of the Ezine river collapsed.
Footage shot by survivors showed furious river waters flooding the streets in just a few minutes, carrying off cars and traffic signs.
The government – which did not adopt the 2015 Paris climate accord – has denied that the sudden rise in water levels was linked to a hydro-electric power station further up the river.
Last night officials in Ankara and Moscow also announced that all eight people on onboard a Russian fire-fighting plane had perished on a mission to control the wildfires.
Russian President Vladimir Putin – who is battling ‘unprecedented’ wildfires in northeastern Siberia – sent condolences to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erodgan saying ‘the pain of this loss unites us’.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu added: ‘Condolences to our nation and to the Russian people. This heroic sacrifice will not be forgotten.’
In Moscow, the defence ministry said five Russian servicemen and three Turkish citizens were on board the Russian Be-200 plane that went down around midday.
Last night officials in Ankara and Moscow also announced that all eight people on onboard a Russian fire-fighting plane had perished on a mission to control the wildfires
Private news agency DHA said the plane crashed as it was fighting a forest fire in the inland Bertiz region. It said the cause of the crash had not yet been identified
The plane, which was carrying five Russian army personnel and three Turkish officers, was pictured in flames as it bellowed thick black smoke into the air
The plane, which was carrying five Russian army personnel and three Turkish officers, was pictured in flames as it bellowed thick black smoke into the air (Pictured: The amphibious Beriev BE-200 model)
Television footage showed a column of smoke rising from the remote mountainous zone in Turkey’s south.
Turkey’s defence ministry issued a statement saying the aircraft on loan from Russia had taken off from Adana to help extinguish fires burning in Kahramanmaras province.
A surveillance plane and a helicopter had been dispatched to the crash site, the ministry added.
Scientists believe natural disasters like the floods and wildfires are becoming more intense and frequent because of global warming caused by polluting emissions.
Spain swelters in 116C heat on hottest day of the year so far – as ‘Lucifer’ heat dome puts 16 Italian cities on red alert
Spain has endured its hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures topping 113F (45C), while authorities in Italy expanded the number of cities on red alert for health risks to 16, as a heatwave engulfed southern Europe.
The hottest temperature by late afternoon was recorded in Ecija, Seville, at 115.7F (46.5C), just shy of the country’s all-time record of 116.42F (46.9C) hit in Cordoba in July 2017.
Europe’s heat record came in Athens in 1977 at 118.4F (48C).
In the southern Spanish province of Granada, where the mercury rose to 114F (45.4C), few people ventured outside.
Those who did sought shade and stopped to take photos of public thermometers displaying the rocketing temperatures.
Spain has endured its hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures hitting 113F (45C) across the country. The highest figure – 115.7F (46.5C) – was recorded in Ecija, Seville
Conditions however were manageable for people in Benidorm where hundreds took to the beaches
Floods in Turkey are the latest in a bout of extreme weather in the Mediterranean which has baked in blistering temperatures this week and which are expected to rise again on Friday as the ‘Lucifer’ heat dome continues to grip southern Europe
Ice cream parlours did a brisk trade, and some restaurants installed sprinklers to spray mists of water over sweating guests.
Miriam Garcia, a student, wished she had not stepped outside.
‘It is very hot, we have to drink water and put on sun cream all the time, stopping to have a drink at a bar every so often,’ she said. ‘It would be better to be at home than in the street, it’s so hot.’
Dominic Roye, a climate scientist at the University of Santiago de Compostela, said hot air from the Sahara Desert that has brought days of heat and fuelled hundreds of wildfires across Mediterranean countries shows no signs of ending any time soon.
‘The heatwave we are experiencing now is very extreme and a lot of people are saying that it’s normal, as we are in summer. But it’s not, not this hot,’ Mr Roye said.
With night-time temperatures forecast to exceed 77F (25C) in much of Spain, Roye worried about residents who cannot afford air conditioning and other vulnerable people, like the homeless or outdoor workers.
Ice cream parlours did a brisk trade, and some restaurants installed sprinklers to spray mists of water over sweating guests. Others searched for water fountains in Madrid (pictured)
Dominic Roye, a climate scientist at the University of Santiago de Compostela, said hot air from the Sahara Desert that has brought days of heat and fuelled hundreds of wildfires across Mediterranean countries shows no signs of ending any time soon. Pictured: A street thermometer in San Rafael bridge, Cordoba, hits 51C
A woman lies on a bench during a heatwave in Madrid, Spain yesterday
The intense heat is the result of a ‘Lucifer’ heat dome that continues to hold a grip over southern Europe
‘The more intense the heat, the higher the mortality risk,’ he said. ‘When you have high night temperatures, our bodies are prevented from resting.
‘The body is working and working to cool down. We have found a strong link between mortality and night temperatures exceeding 20C (68F).’
Authorities in Italy also raised concerns about older adults and other people at risk as they expanded heat warnings to 16 cities.
Temperatures over 110F were forecast for the Sicilian cities of Palermo and Catania, and as high as 98F (37C) for Rome, Florence and Bologna, all places that the health ministry put on red alert.
Italians sought respite at the sea and in the mountains from the aptly named Lucifer anti-cyclone that was bringing hot air from Africa during Italy’s peak summer holiday weekend.
High temperatures were forecast to continue through Sunday, the traditional Ferragosto holiday on the religious feast of the Assumption of Mary, which marks the summer holiday exodus from Italian cities.
In Rome, drinking fountains provided relief, while authorities kept tourists away from ornamental fountains like the famed Trevi Fountain, fearing imitators of Anita Ekberg’s soaking in the film La Dolce Vita.
‘I put my head under the water at each fountain, drinking a lot, staying in the shade as much as I can,’ said Alessia Pagani, who was visiting from the northern city of Brescia.
High humidity accompanied the high temperatures, making it feel even hotter. Storms in the north were forecast to bring the first signs of relief starting on Monday.
‘More than anything else, fresh air from the Atlantic will bring a coolness and greater ventilation that will sweep away the humidity and make the air much more breathable,’ Lt Col Filippo Petrucci of the Italian air force’s weather service told RAI state TV.
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