4 killed, 19 wounded when powerful storm hits Istanbul
Clock tower toppled, roofs take flight, and trees are uprooted when fierce storm ravages city, home to over 15M people
At least four people died Monday when the Turkish metropolis of Istanbul was hit by a fierce storm with gale-force winds, according to the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).
Another 38 people were injured, AFAD said in a statement.
As of 8.30 pm (1730GMT), 1,517 calls were made to the 112 Emergency Call Center in Istanbul due to the storm, AFAD said.
Emergency services are working hard to get help to people in need, the governor’s office said.
Since Monday morning, the city – home to over 15 million people – has faced powerful winds which uprooted trees, ripped off rooftops and even toppled a clock tower.
State weather officials said the wind blew as fast as 129 kilometers per hour (80 miles per hour) in the district of Beylikduzu, which also was pummeled by a short mud rain during the storm.
Some boats docked in Maltepe and Pendik suffered severe damage due to the storm, which also caused a cargo ship to collide with a pier at the Port of Ambarli.
Amid the storm, authorities took precautionary measures, cancelling sea transport and closing the Bosphorus Strait – which connects the Marmara and Black seas – to ship traffic in both directions.
Facing adverse aerial conditions, flag carrier Turkish Airlines sent at least six planes that were unable to land to airports outside Istanbul.
In a subsequent statement, the governor’s office said that education was suspended for one day due to the storm’s continued impact on the city.
Strong winds and storms will continue to batter the city tonight, with wind speeds of up to 90 kph (60 mph) until 6 p.m. (1500GMT) tomorrow, according to weather officials.
The governor’s office added that motorcycles and electric scooters will not be allowed in traffic from 11 p.m. (2000GMT) Monday to 6 p.m. (1500GMT) Tuesday due to the powerful storm.
Officials said in a statement that most of Turkey would be affected by strong winds and storms until Tuesday and urged people to take measures to avoid harm during the bad weather.
Meanwhile, a total of 116 incidents including the uprooting of trees and blowing off of roofs occurred in Bursa, Bolu, Tekirdag and Yalova provinces, the AFAD statement said.
Classes were suspended for one day due to the storm’s continued impact on Duzce and Sinop provinces, according to the governor’s offices in the respective cities.
Education was also suspended for one day at Bursa Technical, Balıkesir, Canakkale Onsekiz Mart and Yalova universities due to the fierce storm, according to the university administrations.
*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas, Gozde Bayar and Zehra Nur Duz
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