‘Negligence’ behind deaths at flooded underpass
The recent deaths at an underpass due to the flash floods that hit the southern provinces of Şanlıurfa and Adıyaman have brought the allegations of negligence to the agenda, as the death toll rises to 18.
The extent of the damage is increasing in Şanlıurfa and Adıyaman, which have already been affected by the devastating Kahramanmaraş-centered earthquakes.
Search and rescue operations are ongoing in the region, while cleaning efforts have also started in the tent cities and other areas submerged in flood waters.
The loss of life in two provinces has increased to 18, while the search for two missing people continues.
In the Abide Junction underpass, where seven people died on March 15, two more lifeless bodies were found on March 16.
On the evening of March 16, the lifeless body of a cleaning worker was discovered in the flooded shopping mall he worked in, with the death toll in Şanlıufa rising to 16.
In the province of Adıyaman, where two people lost their lives due to the flood, search efforts are ongoing to find Fatma Tekdal and her 2-year-old daughter, Zeynep Zümra, who disappeared when their container slid into the flood waters.
It was learned that Tekdal is in the second month of her pregnancy.
In the southeastern province of Mardin, another city affected by heavy rains, 11-year-old Fatma Sezer lost her balance and fell into the Cırcıp Stream, as the water flow increased due to the torrential rains.
Upon notifications, teams immediately started a search and rescue operation for the girl, and the efforts are ongoing.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu stated that a team of 500 people continue their search and rescue efforts in the flood-hit provinces.
Four people are being treated in the intensive care unit, Soylu said, adding that nearly 2,000 houses and workplaces were damaged due to the flooding in Şanlıurfa.
Meanwhile, the fact that the 6-meter-high Abide Junction underpass was completely filled with flood waters and nine people lost their lives brought allegations of negligence to the agenda.
According to Mehmet Selim Açar, the head of the Şanlıurfa Chamber of City Planners, five reasons lie behind the tragic deaths in the underpass.
One of the most important reasons, which is frequently mentioned by the public as well, is that a part of the underpass was built in a stream bed.
“First of all, the place where the underpass was built is wrong. In this region, the Cavsak Stream passes through the middle of the city and continues by dividing the city into two. And most importantly, it is still active,” Açar explained.
Stating that it is a fatal mistake to try to discharge the active stream bed, Açar noted that when they managed to discharge the steam, they ignored the possibility of an overflow in the stream.
He described this negligence as a serious engineering error.
Pointing out that the underpass was not built in the accordance with the average flow rate of the stream water, Açar also noted that initially, the project must have been changed completely.
Instead of the underpass, a viaduct should have been constructed without any intervention to the waterbed, Açar said.
Finally, the most important reason for this disaster is the battlements that were not cleaned despite the warning of meteorologists a week before the flood, he added.