Aegean and Western Black Sea Floods

Heavy rainfall during the period 10-15 May 1998 in the provinces of İzmir, Aydın, Manisa and Denizli has caused severe floods particularly in the townships of Söke, Nazilli, Kuyucak and Davutlar within Aydın. Approximately one million decares (approximately 220,000 acres) agricultural land when such crops as cotton, tobacco, produce and fruit has been badly impacted. Cities in the region have also been effected when roads, water distribution network, powerlines, sewage lines were damaged.

The rains in the Aegean caused no loss of life and property damage was low. Shortly after this the precipitation shifted to the western Black Sea area, concentrating in the provinces of Bolu, Zonguldak, Karabük, Bartın, Sakarya and Kastamonu. A land area of some 37,000 square kilometres with a population of 2,2 million suffered through its worst flooding during the last century. Some 151 rivers overtopped their beds and embankments, and in 278 urban settlements some 10,500 homes and businesses were left underwater. In all 17 persons have lost their lives while another 4 are unaccounted for. The primary reason for the relatively low loss of life is that the heavy rainfall started in the early hours of 21 May 1998.

Floods have stopped all transport and communication systems in the area. Water, electric power and sewage lines have been totally disrupted. Some 1350 km. of primary roads and 8 km. of rural roads have been closed to traffic. Culvants totalling 5.8 km. and 4.5 km. of retaining wall have been damaged as well as 173 bridges. Some 860,000 decares of cultivated land has been damaged, some 1000 or sheep and 135,000 poultry have died. It is estimated that losses in agricultural area will total 34 trillion T.L. Losses in roads are estimated to be 60 trillion T.L. and in railways 10 trillion T.L.

Rescue teams assisted by military units have brought 1200 people to safety from where they were trapped. Numerous landslides have been reported ın the days following the rains and 1121 families have been relocated in 38 towns and villages.

And 28 May 1998, reports indicate that 3,000 houses have been ruined or evacuated. Another 6,000 have been damaged due to rainfall or landslide. Damage to houses is estimated to have cost 17 trillion T.L. The financial loss suffered by small business owners; producers tradesmen and industrialists are guessed at 75 trillion T.L.

As of today (29 May 1998) transport and communication with all municipal settlements have been re-established. However, 182 villages are still unreached. In 203 villages no drinking water is available, and 33 electricity has not been restored.

The Turkish government is sparing no resources to restore life to normal in the area. It is feared that the total economic loss to the country will read US $ 1 billion.