Melting snow heightens landslide risk in Black Sea region, warns expert
Landslide risks will be much greater in the next couple of months in some provinces of the Black Sea region because of the fast melting of snow, experts have warned.
They also noted that climate change has already altered the precipitation pattern in the region and pointed out that several incidents of landslides occurred in the past two months in several locations in the provinces of Trabzon, Ordu, Samsun and Rize.
Sudden torrential rain and consequent flooding have hit towns and cities in the region in the past year.
At least six people were killed, and two others went missing in the flooding and landslides in Rize in July last year. The disaster also caused some 250 million Turkish Liras in damages. Also, flooding killed more than 80 people last summer in the Black Sea province of Kastamonu.
The Black Sea region received snow and rainfall well above seasonal norms in the past weeks. In March, several provinces already experienced landslides, causing some material damage to buildings, but no casualties were reported in those incidents.
“Heavy rain obliviously triggers landslides in this region. Floods and landslides are natural events, but we make them turn into natural disasters,” said Osman Bektaş, a retired geological engineer at Karadeniz University in Trabzon, referring to poorly constructed buildings at risky locations.
Such events could be experienced more often in the next months, but particularly in April and May, Bektaş warned.
“Laws and regulations cannot prevent those disasters; they only work if people follow those rules. One hundred years ago, a few people lived around riverbanks in this region, but today hundreds of people … This means higher casualties in the event of flooding and landslides,” he said.
Confirming Bektaş’s concerns, local media recently reported that owners of buildings prone to risk from flooding and landslide were resisting the demolishment of those buildings in Rize.