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Floods And Weather Conditions In Turkey

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Question:

Write in detail of an event of 2016 floods and weather conditions in Turkey ?

A) were they prepared

B) How they managed

C) After response and recovery
 
 

Answer:

Introduction

Turkey and its populations show a higher perceived risk of an earthquake as compared to other countries and the country is no stranger to experiencing earthquakes (Knuth et al., 2014) and other natural calamities. Thus, any experience with a hazard raises the perceived risk of that hazard. Disaster of any kind of disaster leads to injuries and diseases, loss of human life and all those add to burdens of health-care costs and economic loss. The damage to public structures and commercial enterprises spells disaster for a community. Almost 40% of all natural disasters across the world are due to floods (Ercüment et al., 2005). Poor socio-economic and health conditions of a community add to the deaths and injuries. Thus, there is a rise in the number of infectious diseases, respiratory infections, diarrhea and malaria in the areas after the floods.

About floods

In meteorological terms, flooding is usually defined as a localized hazard that is the result of excessive and localized precipitation in a short period in a given location. Flash floods and single-event floods are the most common according to the World Meteorological Organization, which identifies about ten different types of floods (KomuAcu & Celik, 2013). During the flash floods, one sees a very rapid rise and recession of the flooding waters, followed by landslides and debris flows. The severity of a flooding is influenced by soil moisture, land conditions and the terrain of the area. Single-event floods are caused by heavy rains with cyclonic disturbances and can last for hours and days.  Floods are one of the most common natural disasters, and flooding is fast becoming a greater threat to mankind. Turkey experiences various natural disasters related because of its geographical location, geology, and topography. The natural disasters such as landslides, gravity flows; floods and snow avalanches are getting common here. Devastating flood events in recent times have taken place in various river basins of Turkey, causing death and extensive damages. Floods in the coastal zones in Turkey are created mainly because of heavy rainfall along with certain geomorphologic features (Yüksek, Kankal & Üçüncü, 2013).Floods can occur because of sudden snowmelt in the mountainous part of Turkey or due to heavy rainfall in the coastal areas. Floods are considered the most commonly occurring natural disasters in the world. Global warming and climatic changes have raised the severity and frequency of the floods in Turkey. They are a cause of major economic losses and mortality in Turkey.
Recent floods in Turkey

 


Turkey is located in the region of two continents Asia and Europe. It is made of seven geographical regions, Southeastern Anatolia, Marmara, Aegean, Black Sea, Mediterranean, Eastern Anatolia and Central Anatolia. Most of the rivers surrounding the country flow into the seas. Although the climatic conditions of Turkey are quite temperate, it is the diverse nature of the landscape that is the cause behind. For example, the parallel running mountains to the coasts create noteworthy variances in climatic conditions. The coastal areas enjoy milder climates, and the inland Anatolian plateau faces extreme summers and winters as compared to other areas. 501 m3 rain of rainfall falls annually in Turkey (Ercüment et al., 2005). 
In 2016, the Mediterranean coast of southern Turkey remained inundated because of the torrential rains. The people were forced to stay in their homes and watch the streets getting flooded. Private and public transport vehicles came to a halt and holidays were announced because of the flooding in Mersin (Torrential rain floods Turkey 2016). Dozens of buildings and bridges were damaged in Turkey’s Ordu Province because of floods and heavy rains. The bad weather caused landslides and flash flooding in numerous districts and many small rivers such as Kacal? and Gargacak were overflowing (Davies, 2016). Strong winds, torrential rainfall and heavy snowfall in some cities in Turkey, including the capital Ankara, and Istanbul, left life paralyzed for days. Turkish Airlines canceled many flights, and the Ferry service between Istanbul and northwestern Bursa was limited. Many schools remained closed in western, northern, central and southern cities (Heavy snowfall, rainfall, floods, 2016). Heavy snowfall and rains lashed Turkey, and citizens in Antalya were taken by surprise by the severe weather conditions. Heavy rains hit the Southern province of Mersin, thus causing deadly floods accompanied by heavy snowfall (Heavy snowfall, deadly flash flooding hits Turkey, 2016).
Based on local media reports, the neighboring province of Giresun was affected. Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency reported that several buildings and roads had been severely damaged. It is observed that Turkey is extremely vulnerable to flash flooding and the coastal cities surrounded by steep mountains are exposed to the risks of landslides (Davies, 2016). Turkey life was paralyzed under the heavy snowfall and rains and deadly floods in the southern part of the country. Many areas and schools in central and northern provinces were closed due to snow. Heavy snowfall was seen in central and northern Anatolia.  Ankara-Afyonkarahisar road was closed because of the heavy snow, making the intercity buses immobile. Many people were wounded and killed due to bad weather. Domestic and international flights got concealed. (Snow, storms hit Turkey, 2016).The municipality’s disaster coordination center and Meteorologists in Istanbul warned the nation about snow and storm in the Istanbul area.

What makes Turkey prone to floods

Turkey suffers different natural disasters because of its geographical location, precipitation regime, and topography and faces flash floods, earthquakes, forest fires, avalanches, and landslides. Flash floods are a serious natural disaster here, and there are more than twenty flood events every year in the country (Yildirim et al., 2016).  The region surrounding the city of Edirne in Turkey is prone to flooding because of its exposure to impacts of Maritza, Arda and Tundja River basin systems (Tuncok 2015). Marmara region and Istanbul areas are highly prone to flash floods (KomuAcu & Celik, 2013). Other factors such as urbanization, land use changes, construction and poor drainage add to the risks, especially in the major urban areas. According to Tuncok (2015), the densely populated Turkish part of the river basin lacks geographical space for installing such structural prevention measures. However, nonstructural measures can be employed by river beds and banks rehabilitation as flood prevention measures. Hydrological impact evaluation of climate change on the Omerli Basin of Istanbul, based on simulations and grid scale and application of HBV hydrologic model suggest that the high flows are expected to rise in the by the end of the twenty-first century (Kara, & Yucel, 2015).

Research suggests that the urban precipitation shows higher variation than the rural one. Thus, it points out that urban areas are more prone to frequent and severe droughts and floods. This could be because of increased convective and orographic activity in the urban areas. The lowering precipitation in the Western areas of Turkey can be looked at as the positive trend of Notchy Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) (Tayanç et al., 2009). However, the northern areas of the country are experiencing an increase in precipitation because of the Mediterranean type of climate. The rise in population plus the drop of precipitation in the Western areas of Turkey plus the rise in temperatures can create several risks. Looking at the socio-economic diversity of the area and the climate changes, Turkey can experience an increased stress on water resources.  The damaging floods are seen to affect many parts of Turkey in recent years. The country has suffered millions of dollars economic damage due to frequent floods in major cities of the country. A study on Marmara flood reflects that human activity can amplify the impacts of floods and increase the economic losses (KomuAcu & Celik, 2013).
Floods are the third most frequent disasters in Turkey, and the flood risk management is not yet in place in Turkey. As asserted by Ak?nc?, & Erdo?an (2014), the experts are concerned about the formats and the scales in which the data are generated. The Marmara region in Turkey is very sensitive to adverse weather conditions. It supports 60% of the industry of Turkish Republic and thus is an important geopolitical region. This is the first area to be affected by cyclones from the North West side of the country, because of its particular features and location. The lower mountains provide no barrier to weather systems, and the region falls in the transitional zone between the Mediterranean and Black seas climates (Deniz et al., 2013). 

 

The Climate factors and the topography

Turkey has a complex climatic structure and thus is among those countries that will be affected the most because of global warming. Different regions of Turkey because of their fragmented topography and surrounded with waters by three sides will experience climate changes in various manners. Arid and semi-arid regions such as Southeastern, Central Anatolia, Aegean and Mediterranean regions, under desertification will see considerable temperature increase (Bueyuekyildiz et al., 2009).Those climate changes in future can lead to changes in agricultural activities in Turkey. Global warming and climate changes can lead to increasing number of floods, droughts, decreasing agricultural productions, increasing number of forest fires and a lowered biological diversity. Depending on the rise in seawater level, the low flood-delta and coast plains of Turkey s can remain under water.

Turkey suffers from floods due to torrential rain that falls during early autumn and winter. Most of the flood incidents take place in the in coastal parts and are triggered by cyclones from the Mediterranean. The humid air masses coming from the Mediterranean Sea create intense rainfalls over the windward slopes of the mountain ranges on the coast. As started by KomuAcu & Celik (2013), Orographic lifting pushes the extremely moist air upslope towards the higher Taurus Mountains and thus cause heavy rainfall along the Mediterranean coasts of the country in the North. The interior parts of the country experience convective precipitation during the changing seasons of spring and autumn. It is the orographic and frontal lifting of the saturated air masses in the coastal regions that lead to an intense rainfall and the most damaging type of floods.

The erraticism of suspended sediment release is a result of the several factors that interact such as rainfall, sediment availability, soil moisture, characteristics of discharge and antecedent rainfall. During the rainy season, the soil moisture is relatively high and generate overland flow. Persistent rainfall in the saturated soil can lead to the occurrence of floods (Dominic, Aris, & Sulaiman, 015). Thus, the dry and wet tropical weather conditions impact the discharge of suspended sediment, depending on the intensity of the rainfall. As stated by (Yüksek, Kankal & Üçüncü (2013), the precipitation types can be frontal and convective and depending on the time of the year, intense rainfall can lead to flooding. When orographic and frontal lift of the saturated air masses create surface convergence, it leads to very intense rainfall, and this can create the most dangerous type of floods in coastal regions. The accumulated snow in the upper basins of Anatolian rivers melt in May or June and can cause flooding in downstream rivers.

The strata in the Eastern Black Sea Basin of Turkey is generally made of impermeable or semi-permeable volcanic rocks, and it is the rainiest one in Turkey. The flood inventory in Turkey shows an average of 18 flood events taking place every year (Yüksek, Kankal & Üçüncü, 2013). A brief analysis of the floods shows a link between the return periods of heavy rainfall and extreme floods. As there has been no significant climate change, the reasons for harms are related to credited to human factors and activities such as urbanization, deforestation and illegal land use. Scientists have concluded a link between the warming seas and flood events in the Black Sea region of Russia. The warmer temperatures of the sea surface create an increased precipitation intensity that goes beyond 300% (Davies, 2016). Turkish State Meteorological Service reported 269.4 mm of rain fell in 24 hours in Be?ikdüzü and the heavy rain seems to be localized in the province. A study shows most of the deaths due to floods occurring in the Eastern Black Sea Basin and Black Sea Region. The melting snow in summer create floods in the rivers in the Eastern Black Sea Region. The flow rates of the rivers get very high in summer (Ercüment et al., 2005).

Is Turkey Prepared

The present situation is not satisfactory because of inefficient infrastructure and uncontrolled urbanization. There is a need to modernize the current disaster management system in Turkey, and better cooperation is needed among all the state organizations. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that the coastal communities are threatened by the global mean sea-level rise. The local sea-level along the Aegean Sea coast of Turkey in Izmir has risen at a pace of 6.8±0.9 mm year between 1984 and 2002 (Demirkesen et al., 2007). These sea-level rises carry economic and ecological significance as they can cause irreversible changes to the coastal ecosystems. The flood risk map indicates that Menemen delta, settlements of Karsiyaka, Candarli, Aliaga, Alacati, and Selcuk are at high risk. However, the south coastlines of the Izmi appear to be less susceptible to the predictable sea-level rise (Demirkesen et al., 2007). Urban areas such as Istanbul are very challenging as the current flood control structures, and drainage network cannot deal with large surface runoffs. Even small-scale flash floods can cause considerable damage in the city excuse of its high population density. The flood risk zones will continue to grow as long as people continue to occupy the risk areas (KomuAcu & Celik, 2013). It is observed that there are not very strict construction codes regarding the settlement of people along the rivers. What adds to the risks are weather conditions and poor management of water resources in Turkey. Unprecedented floods in the city were connected to settlements made on dried river beds (Heavy snowfall, rainfall, floods, 2016).

Flood forecasting systems are not well developed in Turkey, and the technical infrastructures of such systems need to get updated based on latest developments in the technology. The flood forecasting system comprises of three basic elements, and these include hydrologic and hydraulic models, real-time data acquisition and an updated data assimilation (Ak?nc?, & Erdo?an, 2014). Besides those basic elements, a strong cooperation is required among different parties in the process of flood forecasting and risk management, as diverse kind of data are required from several institutions. The decision makers need timely and up-to-date spatial data for making the right decisions in case of disasters and emergencies. The first step would be to develop a comprehensive flood mitigation plan and integrate it in the current flood plain management. The risk areas prone to floods should be identified, and further construction activities halted in those areas with specific building codes. Industrial facilities and residential buildings in risk zones should be relocated to other safer areas (KomuAcu & Celik, 2013). A flash flood early warning system should monitor water levels and temporal distribution of rainfall.

 

What is being done

European natural disaster management policy with the Flood Directive has empathized on the need of a comprehensive flood risk management approach. One of the fundamental steps for EU member states is flood mapping and the detection of potential flood prone areas. There has been a notable rise in the number of flood events worldwide in the last three decades. Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA) techniques should be taken into account for studying flood-prone areas (Papaioannou, Vasiliades, & Loukas, 2014). The analysis can help estimate associated flood hazard degree based on spatial data and multi-criteria evaluation procedures. The EU ‘directive promotes Flood risk management that has two components, first, the assessment of flood risk and the development of flood risk management plans based on the assessment (Markantonis, Meyer & Lienhoop ,2013).
Turkey government is focusing its attention on appropriate flood management and mitigation measures to minimize the effects of flooding and the loss of life, infrastructures, and properties (KomuAcu & Celik, 2013). The accurate knowledge of meteorological conditions can work as a reliable early flood warning system that can help in the risk management of such hazardous events. As asserted by Yildirim et al. (2016), Turkey Earthquake and Flood Emergency Recovery Project has been established by the Turkish government that follows a cohesive approach for controlling risk due to floods. It is setting up new AWSs in relevant sites across Turkey in order to get the essential data for the deterrence of those natural disasters. Turkey aims to provide a more accurate data available to the decision makers so that life and damage losses because of those natural disasters can be reduced.
Modern real-time forecasting and early warning system (FFEWS) with an integrated decision support system (DSS), provides superior support and possibilities to improve the flood planning and management competencies of the river basin system (Tuncok 2015). New hydrologic and hydraulic modeling software tool simulate hydrologic and hydraulic conditions to assess different scenarios for reservoir systems. FFEWS integrated into an overall DSS is a significant improvement in the accuracy and consistency of decision-making processes. The purpose of geophysical observations is to make real-time research on weather analyses, natural disaster preparation, and aid in agricultural meteorology and climatology research. As the effective observation provides an accurate analysis and thus it is essential to increase the number of observation stations and restructure them, especially in those countries that are often struck by natural disasters. Latest technological developments and automatic weather stations (AWSs) can be employed to improve the capability of disaster prevention procedures and mitigate the impact of meteorological hazards (Yildirim et al., 2016). These stations, based on accurate data can provide early warnings of severe storms, rainstorms, lightning, and floods.

The hydrologists during the last decade are giving considerable attention to the potential impacts of climate change on water resources and hydrology. Traditionally speaking, the general circulation models are assessed by a top-down approach and the hydrological model inputs the local climate signal to evaluate the direct consequences. The mismatch of temporal and spatial scales between river basins and the considerable efforts required, different predictions contribute to the spatial disparity of climate change impacts (Fujihara et al., 2008).  A new inverse approach promises to deal with those issues, and it begins with the documentation of local critical hydrological exposures of an existing water resource. An adequate risk management and preparedness with a response framework are very essential under such circumstances at regional and national levels. The framework requires standardization in equipment, language, procedures and the warning systems. National Hydro-meteorological Services (NHMS) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR need to build resilience in Turkey and reducing its vulnerability to natural disasters (Prevention, preparedness, and response, 2017). The country has learned some valuable lessons regarding floods and protecting the human life. For example, the flood control and management requires restructuring of present legal systems and provide practical solutions based on flood information programs and modifications in building codes (Gurer, I and Ozguler, 2017).
DHI Turkey signed a contract with DSI or the General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works for a flood early warning system in Turkey. This state-of-the-art warning system reduces the impacts of flood events and mitigates loss and damage to life and properties (A New Integrated Flood Early Warning, 2016).  The forecasting system can predict extreme weather conditions, snowmelt process and seasonal precipitation to, estimate flood inundation and identifies the map risk areas. This will help the country to take precautions and roll out disaster measures more efficiently and in time.

 

Response and recovery to floods in Turkey and essential lessons learned

The deadly floods in Turkey cause massive flooding. One of the reasons found is damaged natural irrigation channels and unplanned developments that block the rainwater. The local municipalities and the government need to expand forests and water absorbing green areas under the climate adaptation plan, and ecological flood prevention techniques right away (Turkey floods highlight, 2009) Majority of the country is prone to earthquakes and floods. Earthquake Codes get updated, and Urban Renewal Laws get enforced on a regular basis. Presidency of Disaster and Emergency Management (AFAD), under Turkish Prime Ministry, handles emergency management regulations (Emergency Management against the Natural Disasters of Turkey, 2012). Disaster Management is a challenge for the countries like Turkey. The main role of FAD is to assess the preparedness of an effective emergency management and build coordination among all governmental institutions in case of a disaster like floods (Sahin, 2013). For example, it established Central Disaster Management for an effective coordination during the risk management with a Proactive approach. Historical data related to floods, climate, and vulnerability analysis can help devise plans to lower the risks. Flood risk assessment and analysis can help build flood risk management plan. Large-scale rehabilitation works are planned by the ministry of forestry and water affairs (Sahin, 2013).  Metropolitan municipalities and local authorities are responsible for their area, but obstacles such as encroached development exist. Mitigating Flood Risk in Flooded Areas, 2006, in the GAP Region is a good example of how the project, through local institutional capacity and non-governmental organizations was able to mitigate economic and social damages caused by floods (Sahin, 2013). National Disaster Response Plan involves all stakeholders at local, national and international levels. Turkish Red Crescent and related Ministries carry the responsibilities (Sahin, 2013).

Essential lessons were learned regarding the need of nutrition, education, shelter and health of the citizen impacted by the disaster and emergency situations. Preparedness to disasters covered the Offices, schools, families and youth through educational workshops. The Governor is accountable for the administration of disaster prevention and response plans. (Sahin, 2013).    Effective solutions based on land-use control and building ordinance are essential. Local communities should play an active role in flood information programs. The inefficient infrastructure needs to improve, and uncontrolled urbanization has to go. There is a need to modernize the existing disaster management system. The state and local organizations should cooperate and have their own budgets to deal with the floods (Gurer and Ozguler, 2017).

 

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