Monster winds kill at least six people, injure 52 in southeast Turkey

At least six people were killed and 52 others injured when gusts caused massive damage in the southeast of Turkey on Sunday, according to the country’s official news agency.

The dead included a 4-year-old boy who was crushed to death when a hole in the ground gave way under the weight of the fallen walls of a building in Izmir, a major city on the country’s Aegean coast. In the northern province of Malatya, a 16-year-old girl died after she was hit by a falling wall at an amusement park.

The surge in winds was caused by an unseasonal monsoon, according to the weather agency Anadolu.

Turkish state television blamed the weather system for the deaths, saying in a report on Monday: “(That storm system) was hitting the country since yesterday in such a way that the existing infrastructure was not able to endure.”

Turkish emergency services did not say if it was the strong winds that caused the child’s death, or if it was anything else. Both residents and rescue workers were also affected by the heavy damage.

With the current status of Turkey’s economy, the government is unlikely to pursue a long-term response, which would require money to reinforce buildings to withstand the impact of storms. Last week, Turkey’s high court declined to delay plans to build a giant super dam in the country’s west. The project, which is opposed by environmentalists, would help build a hydroelectric power station on the Euphrates River.

Anadolu reported at least 12 people were injured and one person killed in Sanliurfa, on the Mediterranean coast, on Sunday evening.

The storm system weakened by the time it reached Turkey on Monday, but MeteoGroup, a weather forecaster, said gusts in the country were still reaching 50 kilometers (30 miles) per hour.

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