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Turkey’s eastern provinces hit by disruptive snowstorm and strong winds

turkey-snowstorm-may-2020

A cold front accompanied by snow and strong winds caused disruptions to Turkey's eastern provinces beginning Sunday, May 24, 2020. The storm led to extensive damage to properties, power blackouts, traffic interruptions, and at least one person dead.

In the southeastern province of Hakkari, strong winds damaged roofs of houses and public buildings in the city center. A booth serving as a taxi stand was also blown away, rolling into a street.

Homes in Van's city center also took a hit, as well as greenhouses and fields in the nearby districts of Gurpinar, Saray, Gevas, and Ozalp, where a barn's roof collapsed, killing many sheep.

Power blackouts occurred throughout the region, including in Ardahan's city center.

In the city of Kahramanmaras, the storm damaged several apartment buildings, grocery stores, billboards, and a school. In the Nurhak district, a group consisting of 30 people was rescued by the local Disaster and Emergency Management Authority and gendarmerie units.

In the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, rainfall accompanied by hail blanketed streets, leading to whiteout conditions that caused disruptions to drivers exempt from the curfew.

The damage reported in the city center was minimal, however, crops were impacted in the countryside, as well as in the neighboring province of Elazig.

Early Monday, May 25, five neighborhood watchmen sustained injuries in Erzerum's Horasan district. The commuters were on their way home from duty when their car veered off the road.

The country's highlands were also affected by snowfall, especially the northern and eastern parts. High altitude areas in the province of Erzincan were particularly impacted as village roads were blocked, many mountain passes were closed, and drivers had to use tire chains on highways.

At least one fatality was reported, identified as a 70-year-old shepherd. Several cattle breeders in the highlands of the Uzumulu district managed to survive and return to their villages, along with their herd. Baris Metin Kurt, a shepherd, said the weather suddenly became bad, and it is the first time they encountered such an event in May.

In the northern Kastamonu province, a group of shepherds roaming the countryside with 440 sheep were trapped on a plateau following a sudden snowfall. Around 80 sheep perished due to cold and exhaustion, while many remain unaccounted for. Shepherds took refuge in a nearby village with their remaining animals.

In the northern Giersun province, more than a dozen shepherds, along with some 4 000 sheep were rescued in the highlands as local units cleared roads engulfed in snow and brought in fodder.

Featured image credit: Forum Atmosfer/YouTube

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