18 injured as ferocious storms, powerful tornado batter Turkey’s beleaguered Izmir (PHOTOS, VIDEO) — RT World News

The western Turkish province of Izmir was subjected to the full fury of mother nature overnight, as a tornado flung cars into the air, uprooted trees and toppled a crane, injuring at least 18 people.

A ferocious hailstorm started pummeling the province at approximately 9 p.m. local time before a tornado touched down and capsized boats in the harbor and flung vehicles high into the air.

More than 16 people were hospitalised initially, including nine struck by a falling crane in the Alacati area, though this figure was later updated by local authorities.

“In the space of just 20 seconds there was a great misfortune. We see a very sad picture. Many roofs have been blown off, vehicles lifted up and smashed to the ground. It’s unbelievable,” Izmir Mayor Tunc Soyer told reporters as he surveyed the damage.

Soyer said the situation may have been far worse were it not for the nighttime curfew imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Several cars in the area were flung over the rooftop of houses and were found far as eight to 10 meters (33 feet) away from their parking spots; it’s clear there is significant damage,” said Izmir Gov. Yavuz Selim Kosger. 

Elsewhere in Izmir, Turkey’s third-largest city, a road collapsed while roofs were ripped from dozens of houses. 

Less than two weeks ago, one person was killed when flash floods struck Izmir, with authorities already sounding the alarm about the potential financial cost of what they described as natural devastation induced by climate change. The region also experienced a deadly 7.0 earthquake at the end of 2020.

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