6 dead, 2 missing in floods, landslides in northeast Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey — At least six people have been killed and two people are missing after heavy rains hit Turkey’s northeastern Black Sea coast, triggering floods and landslides, Turkey’s health minister said Thursday.

The heavy downpour struck the tea-growing province of Rize late on Wednesday, sweeping away cars and causing a number of houses to collapse. Video images from the region also showed mudslides destroying tea plantations.

A 75-year-old woman was found dead amid the debris of her three-story house in Rize’s Muradiye district, state-run Anadolu Agency reported. Rescuers also recovered the bodies of three people who died after mudslides partly destroyed a wooden house.

The victims also included the head administrator of the nearby village of Asmaliirmak, who died after being swept away by the raging waters, Anadolu reported.

Rescue teams sent to the region were searching for two people who remain unaccounted for, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said, adding that one other person was hospitalized.

The private DHA news agency said sniffer dogs and divers were aiding the search-and-rescue mission.

The heavy rains also shut down access to dozens of villages and cut off power supplies, it said. More than a hundred people were evacuated from their homes.

Turkey’s Black Sea region is frequently struck by devastating torrential rains and flash floods.