Tragic landslide claims lives in Türkiye's Zonguldak

In the wake of heavy rainfall over the weekend, a devastating landslide in Black Sea's coastal city of Zonguldak led to the collapse of a single-story house, trapping Perihan Çakar, 82, and her son Sait Çakar, 51, under the debris, News.Az reports citing Daily Sabah. 

The search and rescue efforts halted during the night and resumed at dawn.

Under the coordinated efforts of Zonguldak Municipality, gendarmerie, the Turkish Hard Coal Corporation (TTK), and the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), teams inspected the area's safety to commence the rescue operation. The gendarmerie utilized underground imaging equipment and a cadaver search dog to aid in the process.

A secondary landslide occurred during the operation, leaving a rescue machine submerged underground. Authorities, including Zonguldak Governor Osman Hacıbektaşoğlu, Mayor Ömer Selim Alan, AFAD Chairperson Okay Memiş, Provincial Police Chief Sinan Ergen, Provincial Gendarmerie Commander Senior Colonel Cezmi Yalınkılıç and Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Münir Karaloğlu, visited the site to oversee operations and extend condolences to the affected residents.

Karaloğlu briefed the media on the retrieval of the bodies of the mother and son from the debris. He highlighted the prompt initiation of search and rescue operations by all teams upon receiving the report last night.

Addressing the second landslide occurring around 10 p.m. on the same day, Karaloğlu recounted, "A significant landslide occurred as the retaining wall above gave way, injuring 21 of our colleagues who were working in the area.

Thankfully, no lives were lost in this subsequent landslide. Of the 21 injured, 15 have been discharged from hospitals, while the treatment of the remaining six is ongoing, with no life-threatening conditions reported."

Karaloğlu explained that due to uncertainty regarding the risk from higher ground, search and rescue activities had to be halted in the evening. He provided an update, stating: "At sunrise, our teams conducted a risk assessment in the affected landslide zone. Currently, both rescue and technical teams are tirelessly working in the area. We are arranging for a new machine as requested by the teams. The debris has covered one of the machines present during the second landslide."

Karaloğlu highlighted the critical saturation of soil with water due to over 50 hours of continuous rainfall in Zonguldak and its surrounding areas, urging citizens to heed the issued warnings.

While confirming the damage to one house and the precautionary evacuation of 14 houses, Karaloğlu informed: "We've evacuated 42 citizens from the affected region. Although the Governorship arranged accommodation, they preferred staying with relatives. Currently, entry into these homes is prohibited due to the lingering risks. Final investigations will proceed after the completion of search and rescue operations."

With over 300 teams present, reinforced by neighboring provinces, Karaloğlu emphasized the limitation on the number of individuals entering the working area due to its confined size. He noted the likelihood of working in shifts.


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