First bushfires, now severe rainstorms trigger flooding in Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria


The storm comes on the heels of major summer bushfires that hit Greece over the past few weeks, with some burning for more than two weeks and destroying vast tracts of forest and farmland. More than 20 people were killed in the fires.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis blamed both the bushfires and storms on climate change, while conceding that his centre-right government “clearly didn’t manage things as well as we would have liked” on the wildfire front.

The morning after flooding rains in Istanbul, Turkey, on Wednesday.

The morning after flooding rains in Istanbul, Turkey, on Wednesday.Credit: DIA/AP

“I am afraid that the careless summers, as we knew them … will cease to exist and from now on, the coming summers are likely to be ever more difficult,” he said.

Turkish search teams located two bodies, the interior minister said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “The search and rescue efforts for the missing [four] continue uninterrupted,” he added.

Television footage showed rescuers carrying a young girl and an adult to safety from waters reaching waist-high in some areas. The rains also damaged and forced the closure of a main road, HaberTurk television reported.

Heavy rains caused flooding in Istanbul.

Heavy rains caused flooding in Istanbul.Credit: DIA/AP

In Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, heavy rain flooded streets and homes in two neighbourhoods, leaving at least two dead, according to a statement from the governor’s office. Around a dozen people were rescued after being stranded inside a library, while some subway stations were closed. Istanbul Governor Davut Gul urged motorcyclists to stay home.

In Bulgaria, Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov said two people had died and three others were missing after a storm caused floods on the country’s southern Black Sea coast.

Overflowing rivers caused severe damage to roads and bridges. The area also suffered power blackouts, and authorities warned residents not to drink tap water due to contamination from floodwaters.

High winds sent two-metre waves crashing onto beaches at tourist resorts amid torrential rain that flooded streets and houses.

TV footage showed cars and camper vans being swept out to sea in the hardest-hit southern resort town of Tsarevo. Authorities declared a state of emergency in Tsarevo and urged people to move upstairs as the ground floors of some hotels were inundated.


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