Turkey's İzmir tries to heal after floods
İzmir is looking to pick up the pieces after heavy rain caused flooding that resulted in damage to the Aegean province. AA photoİzmir is looking to pick up the pieces after heavy rain caused flooding that resulted in damage to the Aegean province.
Authorities checked damage in the worst-hit neighborhoods, while the Turkish Red Crescent and İzmir Metropolitan Municipality sent aid materials such as tents, blankets and food to areas most affected by the heavy rain.
Hundreds of houses were submerged and roads were closed Nov. 25, resulting in a halt to traffic, including railway services, for several hours in the city.
The sea level in the city rose 75 centimeters after six centimeters fell.
Most of the houses in Buca district’s 19 Mayıs and Vezirağa neighborhoods were inundated after the Yeşildere creek overflowed its banks.
Mayors engage in row
Meanwhile, Istanbul Justice and Development Party (AKP) Mayor Kadir Topbaş called acting İzmir Mayor Sırrı Aydoğan to wish the city a quick recovery, saying Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality was ready to provide any kind of help, Aydoğan told the Anadolu Agency, hailing the gesture.
İzmir Republican People’s Party (CHP) Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu, who was out in France to attend voting for İzmir’s 2020 EXPO candidacy, also called Topbaş when Istanbul suffered flooding few months ago.
The solidarity was in sharp contrast to a war of words between İzmir’s mayor and Ankara AKP Mayor Melih Gökçek, a source of frequent controversy.
“Rain is something, but disaster is another thing. This should be a lesson to CHP members. Now, you shouldn’t get angry if we ask if you need divers,” he tweeted Nov. 25.
Responding to Gökçek’s remarks, Kocaoğlu told daily Hürriyet that İzmir had experienced an extraordinary day due to a rise in the sea level, while condemning Gökçek’s “attempt to smear the opposing side and score points over a disaster like this.”
The İzmir mayor also said divers had been called into rescue people and vehicles stuck in a submerged underground passage in Ankara two years ago.
“Didn’t divers work there? But we didn’t say a word then. ‘It is a disaster, these things can happen,’ we said. However, these kinds of cocksure remarks should be avoided in a period in which global warming has been increasing its impact. People still remember the flood scenes seen in several European cities,” he said.