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1 Bulgarian Killed, Another Missing in Flash Floods in Turkey

Date: 10.09.2009

One Bulgarian national has been killed and another has been declared missing in the flash floods triggered by torrential rains in northwestern Turkey, Bulgaria's foreign ministry announced. According to initial information the killed Bulgarian is a boy, a hitchhiker, who drowned after the car he was traveling in near Istanbul sank, foreign ministry spokesman Dragovest Goranov said Thursday morning.

The relatives of the victim have been notified and are currently on their way to Turkey to identify the body. Another Bulgarian citizen, a truck driver, has been reported missing, Goranov said.

At least 31 people were dead after two days of torrential rains triggered flash floods in northwestern Turkey, sweeping cars into the sea and sending gushing water into homes and businesses, authorities said Wednesday.

Twenty-six people were killed in Istanbul province and five in neighboring Tekirdag province, according to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Nine people were feared missing, he said.

At a news conference in Istanbul's Disaster Management Center, in front of walls of TVs showing live video feeds from Turkey's largest city, Erdogan expressed condolences to families that lost loved ones during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

He said emergency workers rescued an estimated 1,300 people from the flash floods and pledged billions of Turkish lira for disaster relief in Istanbul and Tekirdag provinces.

He also chided developers who built commercial and residential structures in riverbeds that are vulnerable to flooding.

"Our ancestors had a saying: The river's revenge will be heavy, Erdogan said. "We should remember what our ancestors said."

In the wake of this week's disaster, the prime minister called for relocating all such settlements from riverbeds and moving them to safer ground.

Several roads in Istanbul city remained closed, including the airport road.

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