Cause of flooding concrete structures, not global warming: Experts
Concrete jungle and unplanned urbanization are the reasons for floodings witnessed in various provinces, including the capital Ankara where three people died and a man went missing due to flash floods, meteorologists have said.
“We saw ‘June rains’ in the past, too, but there were no floodings at that time. It is because there were more green lands, but now, we have concrete everywhere,” Güven Özdemir, a meteorology engineer from Istanbul’s Aydın University, told the daily Milliyet on June 13.
Yüksel Yağan, the head of the analysis department of the Turkish State Meteorological Service, agreed with Özdemir, saying that “the amount of rainfalls Turkey witnesses today is no different than the ones in previous Junes.”
Many provinces, with Istanbul and Ankara at the lead, have been struggling with heavy precipitation, downpours, thunder-boomers, and as a result of all, floodings since the weekend.
Three people died in Ankara, and an apiarist is still missing. On June 12, two people from the capital’s Akyurt district lost their lives: One got electrocuted, and another fell from a height while running away from the floods. A day later, teams found the body of a 27-year-old bus driver in Mamak district.
The schools were closed for a day in the city as the metropolitan municipality announced that some 166 people were saved, more than 250 trees toppled, around 65 roofs got blown away, and some five retaining walls crumbled in the province.
“Greenhouse effect affect cities. Unfortunately, this leads to floodings due to low numbers of trees and increasing concrete structures,” Özdemir said.
The expert offered authorities to convert the provinces into “sponge cities sucking water.”
“For example, water should never spill on the streets from buildings’ roof drains. It must be kept in water tanks,” he said. “We also must renovate all the old loopholes with low capacity of holding water.”
Building tunnels under the cities is another option to let the water flow easily before it causes floods, the expert highlighted.
Istanbul was another metropolis that suffered a harsh blow due to heavy rains. The highway in the İkitelli neighborhood was flooded, while a car crashed into a toppled tree in the Kadıköy district.
“Walnut-sized hailstones” injured some villagers in the northern province of Rize, dozens of trees toppled in the rural areas of the Aegean province of Kütahya and many vehicles got dragged in flood waters in the northern province of Amasya.
“Don’t put the blame on global warming. These rainfalls are not extraordinary,” Yağan said.
The expert also added “increase in population” to the list of reasons for the latest weather incidents.
“The public must get aware of a meteorological culture from now on,” he added.
Rainfalls will continue until the evening of June 15, the meteorologists reminded.