Flash floods killed at least 16 people living in tents and container housing set up across Turkey’s quake-hit southeast on Wednesday, Agence France-Presse reported, citing local media.
Several more people were swept away by the rushing water, which turned streets into muddy rivers in areas hit by last month’s 7.8 and 7.5-magnitude quakes.
More than 48,000 people died in Turkey and nearly 6,000 in Syria in the Feb. 6 disaster, the region’s deadliest in modern times.
Hundreds of thousands of Turkish earthquake survivors have been moved into tents and container homes across the disaster region, which covers 11 provinces.
Torrential rains hit the region late on Tuesday and the weather service expects them to last until late Wednesday.
Turkish officials said the floods killed 14 people in Şanlıurfa, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of the Syrian border.
Two people, including a one-year-old, also died in nearby Adıyaman, where five remain unaccounted for.
Three people remain unaccounted for in Adıyaman and two in Şanlıurfa, the reports said.
Images showed the waters sweeping away cars and flooding temporary housing set up for earthquake victims.
The Şanlıurfa Governor’s Office said the flooding also reached the ground floor of one of the region’s main hospitals.
Meanwhile, Şanlıurfa Mayor Zeynel Abidin Beyazgül, from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), was booed by locals while inspecting areas affected by the flooding, prompting one of the mayor’s bodyguards to pull a gun on the angry residents, which escalated the situation.
One person is heard saying, “Pulling a gun on the citizens! That’s what you’re good for. God damn you!” in a video shared on Twitter by the dokuz8haber news website.
Beyazgül was taken away from the area by the police.
🔴 Sel felaketinin ardından Şanlıurfa’da incelemelerde bulunan AKP’li Büyükşehir Belediye Başkanı Zeynel Abidin Beyazgül’e yurttaşlar tepki gösterdi
👉 Yurttaşların tepkisinin ardından zabıtalar araya girerek Beyazgül’ü bölgeden uzaklaştırdı. pic.twitter.com/S4RtkzPwyH
— dokuz8haber (@dokuz8haber) March 15, 2023
Journalist Amberin Zaman also posted a video of Balıklı Göl (Pool of the Sacred Fish), a religious site in Şanlıurfa, saying, “Shoddy construction blamed once again for this avertible disaster.”
Storied Balıklı Göl home to Urfa’s ancient carp following flash floods this week. Shoddy construction blamed once again for this avertible disaster. https://t.co/Xz46sRpxxK
— Amberin Zaman (@amberinzaman) March 15, 2023
The AKP government also faced an angry backlash from citizens after the earthquakes in February. The government was mainly accused of failing to mobilize enough people for the effort and a lack of coordination among the teams, which resulted in civilians in some regions trying to pull their loved ones from under the rubble themselves and finding them frozen to death although they sustained no critical injuries when the building collapsed.