Turkish floods toll rises above 40
ANKARA, Turkey -- The death toll from floods in Turkey has risen above 40, officials have said.
Rescuers have given up hope of finding 18 missing people, adding to the 26 already confirmed dead.
More than 30 died in Rize, the Black Sea province hardest hit by the storms.
"We've lost hope for the 18 people buried beneath the rubble. Our loss of life (in Rize) is now above 30," Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz told reporters as he toured the village of Selamet, where most of the victims in Rize province died.
The heavy rains triggered landslides, killed livestock, destroyed fields and flooded hundreds of homes in central, eastern and northeastern Turkey.
Mudslides and high winds in Rize ruined tea fields, the mountainous region's economic mainstay, a month before the harvest, an official at the governor's office said.
In Mus province, a six-year-old boy was swept away by floodwaters and drowned on Thursday, the state-run Anatolian news agency said.
Eleven people died earlier in the week in Kars, Tokat, Corum and Yozgat provinces, east of the capital Ankara.
"We've started all of the necessary assistance and it will continue," Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit told reporters after expressing his condolences to the flood victims.
Six children have drowned in floods in central Turkey since Tuesday, including four siblings who died along with their mother after flood waters trapped them in their home, said an official in Yozgat province, east of the capital Ankara.
And three people died in a lightning strike and three more drowned in Kars, Tokat and the central town on Corum, around 95km (150 miles) from the capital, Ankara.
Coastal flooding kills 3 in Turkey
December 3, 2001
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