Coastal Black Sea region devastated by flooding

July 29, 2009, Wednesday/ 17:21:00
The coastal Black Sea region has been hit by a wave of bad weather, with Giresun, the most heavily affected, designated a disaster zone and receiving funds from the Prime Ministry's emergency fund.

Heavy rain that increased in intensity throughout Monday, especially into the evening hours, wreaked havoc in eastern Black Sea cities, with some municipalities caught by surprise after dark with major flooding in several districts. The worst hit areas are Giresun, Trabzon, Rize and Ordu. In most areas, traffic was greatly affected, and many homes and businesses were flooded.

The coastal Black Sea region has been hit by a wave of bad weather, with Giresun, the most heavily affected, designated a disaster zone and receiving funds from the Prime Ministry's emergency fund.

Heavy rain that increased in intensity throughout Monday, especially into the evening hours, wreaked havoc in eastern Black Sea cities, with some municipalities caught by surprise after dark with major flooding in several districts. The worst hit areas are Giresun, Trabzon, Rize and Ordu. In most areas, traffic was greatly affected, and many homes and businesses were flooded. No loss of life has been reported, and intermittent rain and mudslides are continuing to complicate municipal damage control efforts.

Public Works Minister Mustafa Demir announced yesterday afternoon that Giresun had been designated a disaster zone. Participating in on-site inspections of areas damaged by the flooding, Demir confirmed that agricultural land and the city's infrastructure had sustained widespread damage. “Resources from our ministry and the Finance Ministry's emergency funds will be spent to repair the damage and renew the infrastructure. An amount of emergency funding has already been sent to the governorate and municipality, and TL 600,000 in emergency funds has already arrived from the Prime Ministry for use for such ends as emergency housing of residents and search-and-rescue operations,” Demir said.

It is every man for himself in Giresun, mayor says

Heavy showers prevailing throughout Monday evening in Giresun resulted in widespread flooding, inundating over 100 homes with water.

Heavy rains on Monday night spelled catastrophe for many coastal Black Sea towns, with Giresun being designated a disaster zone by the state.

The adverse weather came before the city had a chance to recover from severe flooding last week. Citizens looking to the municipality for reassurance, however, might best look elsewhere. Giresun District Mayor Kerim Aksu, complaining that the city's infrastructure has sustained serious damage in the flooding, told Habertürk TV that the residents of Giresun should look after themselves. “It is not even possible for me to describe the extent of the damage. There is nothing we can do. At this point, all we are happy about is that no lives have been lost. We are responding to emergency calls about people in danger, but cannot even bother with property damage at this point,” he said.

Aksu explained that heavy rainfall on Monday evening caused the Küçükgüre and Büyükgüre rivers to flood their banks. Vice Mayor Ömer Cinel said in a statement that the municipality was at a loss as to how to deal with the extensive damage, with over 100 homes flooded according to resident reports.

Aksu said in his television interview, a live broadcast from Giresun, that most roads were blocked due to the flooding and that the road along the Black Sea had been closed to all automobiles except municipal and firefighting vehicles. It is every man for himself, the mayor said. “We cannot help anybody; we are saying that everyone should try to save themselves. The government needs to send help here urgently. If all the available hands in the Black Sea region came here it would not be sufficient. There are no roads residents can take to go to hospitals. We have evacuated a number of homes that have collapsed or been flooded, but right now we cannot reach anyone else,” Aksu said.

“This rain was twice as damaging as that of last week. Many homes and businesses have been flooded, and the city's infrastructure has seen serious damage. It is impossible for me to give set numbers right now, but I can tell you that in the face of this disaster, there is nothing that equipment or people can do. The city is full of sand and gravel brought in by the floodwater. The rain is still continuing intermittently. We are working with might and soul just to decrease the extent of the damage as much as we can,” Aksu said. “We cannot keep up with complaints. This is the heaviest rainfall we have had in 80 years, and there is nothing that manpower can do in the face of this. We are just happy no lives have been lost,” Aksu said.

Trabzon, Rize, Ordu also affected by heavy rainfall

In Rize, the heavy rainfall on Monday caused mudslides, which closed the village road between Rize and Küçükçayır to traffic for most of the night. When the road was opened, municipal teams arriving in the village of Karasu discovered that the river passing through the village had overflowed, flooding 10 businesses and streets. Local tea farms and automobiles were damaged in the flooding, reports said. The road between Rize and Erzurum was also closed as a result of flooding and due to the likelihood of landslides yesterday.

Ordu also saw heavy rains on Monday night, with some homes and businesses flooded in the city center as well as in the Perşembe and Ünye districts. Municipal teams have evacuated the affected buildings. Authorities temporarily closed a road to traffic in the Caka area of Perşembe. Meanwhile, due to the adverse weather, State Minister Selam Aliye Kalaf announced that she had cancelled her plans to take part in events organized in Rize and Giresun yesterday; these events were postponed.

In Trabzon, on the Black Sea coast, heavy rainfall caused some roads to be blocked entirely, while on others the progress of traffic was impeded by feet of water, forcing motorists to slow if they dared to drive through the floodwater. The road to the Trabzon Airport was severely affected by the rain. Local authorities in Trabzon have been working to clear the roads and are attempting to prevent accidents, advising motorists to be cautious in the dangerous conditions.

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