Catastrophic flooding struck in Şanlıurfa and Adıyaman Provinces in the south of Türkiye on 15 March 2023, causing fatalities and damage in communities still recovering from the earthquakes of February 2023.
According to figures from Türkiye’s General Directorate of Meteorology, in a 24-hour period to 15 March, Karaköprü in Şanlıurfa recorded 104.5 mm of rain and Çelikhan in Adıyaman recorded 125.6 mm.
Damage in the city of Urfa (officially Şanlıurfa) and surrounding areas of Şanlıurfa Province was considerable, with multiple vehicles wrecked and buildings and roads damaged. City streets were left strewn with flood debris. Some buildings were only accessible by boat. Residents were told to move to higher floors and not to remain in the basements or ground floors of buildings. Police and emergency teams evacuated several buildings including a hospital.
As of 15 March, Türkiye’s Ministry of Interior Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) reported 12 people had died in floods in the city. Searches were continuing for people reported missing. Professional divers and Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel were working in the area, AFAD said.
Several government ministers including the Interior Minister, Suleyman Soylu, visited affected areas on 15 March. Schools and some government offices were closed.
Flooding also affected parts of Adıyaman Province during this time. Two people died and 3 were reported missing in the Tut District. The victims are thought to have died when floodwaters inundated a container home sheltering earthquake survivors.
Thousands of homes were destroyed by earthquakes that struck the region in February 2023. Many of those affected by the flooding were living in tents in numerous temporary accommodation centers in the region. On 15 March the Adiyaman Provincial government announced a list of schools and mosques where those affected by the floods could shelter. The government also reported a bridge collapsed on the Adıyaman-Çelikhan Highway which was closed to traffic.