TSUNAMI: Flood-hit Istanbul municipality defends itself
Fatma Aksu - ISTANBUL
A woman walks on the pier in Üsküdar, Istanbul, on June 2. Hürriyet PhotoThe cause of the flooding that created the surreal images in Istanbul was “a small tsunami,” the Üsküdar Municipality’s Press Advisory argued in a statement on June 3.
Heavy rain hit Istanbul on June 2, causing local flooding and creating chaos in the metropolis. Incredible images went viral on social media, as the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu blamed the municipality on June 3 for the lack of urban infrastructure.
The Üsküdar Municipality was on the defensive the day after the flooding. “The Üsküdar pier and the sea came together yesterday afternoon [June 2] following the rain and lodos [southwester] wind. In five minutes, vehicles and citizens found themselves in a flood caused by a small tsunami. Life went back to normal in the next five minutes, as the sea retreated. Short-lived panic didn’t cause any casualties,” the Üsküdar Municipality’s Press Advisory said.
Üsküdar Mayor Hilmi Türkmen stressed “45 kilograms of rain fell each square meter” in “one of the heaviest rains in recent years” on June 2. “The rain made us happy. It rained and is gone now. There are no problems. The claims that we narrowed the storm drains are not true. Those images were the result of the lodos,” Türkmen said.
Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor Kadir Topbaş was another city official who emphasized the extraordinary amount of rainfall. “It rained as if the sky met the sea. It was on a disastrous scale,” Topbaş said, stressing the London underground and “everywhere in Europe” had experienced floods in the past.
Click: 10 surreal images of Istanbul showered by rain