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Police boat, divers search for missing from Turkish floods

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A police boat and divers joined the search for some 30 people still missing more than a week after severe floods devastated parts of Turkey’s Black Sea coast, Turkish media reported Friday as authorities raised the death toll from the disaster to 81.

The Turkish disaster management agency, AFAD, said 70 people were killed in Kastamonu province, 10 in Sinop province and one other in Bartin province. The agency said earlier this week that 34 people were unaccounted for.

Torrential rains pounded the Black Sea provinces in northwestern Turkey on Aug. 11, causing floods that demolished homes and bridges, swept away cars and blocked access to roads.

Turkish channel HaberTurk TV said a police boat and police divers were searching for people still unaccounted for in an area where the Ezine Stream flows into the Black Sea, and where they fear the floods may have carried away some of the missing.

More than 10,000 personnel were involved in search-and-rescue missions across the region as well as efforts to assist survivors, AFAD said. Nineteen trained dogs were also searching for the missing, the agency said.

The worst-hit area was the town of Bozkurt, in Kastamonu, where the floods swamped homes and shops, flattened an eight-story building and seriously damaged other buildings that are suspected of being improperly constructed on a streambed.

The contractor of the eight-story apartment building that collapsed was arrested on Wednesday and charged with “negligently causing death and injury.” At least four people – a woman and three children – died in the collapse. Several neighbors remain unaccounted for.

About 2,400 people were evacuated across the region amid the floods. Many are being temporarily housed in student dormitories.

The floods hit Turkey’s northern coast as hundreds of rescue workers were trying to tame wildfires racing across the country’s southern Mediterranean coast.

Climate scientists unequivocally say that climate change is leading to more extreme weather events as the world warms because of the burning of coal, oil and natural gas.

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