Destructive flash floods lashed the Turkish Aegean coastal province of Izmir on Tuesday, February 2, 2021, resulting in heavy damage, one fatality, and another person missing. Authorities called the situation a disaster, advising residents to stay indoors and only leave their homes when necessary.
A weather station in Güzelyali recorded 126 mm (4.9 inches) of rain in 24 hours, Izmir municipality reported.
Of the total amount, 113 mm (4.4 inches) fell from 03:00 to 09:00 LT, February 2 — more than Izmir's average for the entire month of February (102.3 mm (4 inches)).
The resulting flash flooding blocked main roads in the downtown area and surrounding districts of Aliaga, Foca, and Dikili, killing one person and leaving another one missing. The two individuals were trapped in a vehicle that was washed away by rising water in the town of Menderes.
Mayor Tunc Soyer said the situation was a disaster as the flood caused heavy damage in the province, prompting a half-day leave to public employees.
In Balcova district, several streams overflowed, affecting many residences and businesses in Karabaglar and Bayrakh.
"I have been living here for 30 years and have never seen such a disaster," said Balcova resident Mehmet Akyol. In his area, a stream was clogged with debris and floodwaters drifted away vehicles, leaving them piled up on each other.
— bianet English (@bianet_eng) February 2, 2021
Is a systematic occurrence truly a #disaster especially when it's perfectly anticipated? Why do we keep calling it #natural since the main cause is human action? This is the result of years of rapid/chaotic urbanization and political clientelism. #Izmir #flood #flashflood pic.twitter.com/0kGqzx5Jf3
— Caglar Akgungor, PhD, ISO22301 L.A. (@akgungor_c) February 2, 2021
— Yeni Şafak English (@yenisafakEN) February 2, 2021
— bianet English (@bianet_eng) February 3, 2021
Municipality crews struggled to drain floodwaters on streets, while heavy rains caused disruptions to tram and bus services in several parts of the province.
In a statement, Soyer said Izmir was drenched by 18 percent of rainfall normally seen throughout the entire year, which is "a serious figure," he added.
In the Karabaglar district, an excessive amount of flooding caused a reinforcement wall o collapse. People residing in basement floors had to evacuate their homes, while inundations on Inonu street paralyzed the traffic. An underpass right across Izmir municipality was entirely flooded, leaving drivers stranded. Several streets were shut to traffic.
Crews from the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) were deployed to affected areas to assist with evacuations and to deliver aid to citizens.
Featured image credit: Disaster Compilation/YouTube
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