Engineeers Blame Authorities for Disastrous Flood
Flood could have been prevented from turning into a disaster says Istanbul Environmental Egineeers Chamber. The reasons for the disaster are to be sought in licensing buildings erected in the river courses and in the poor sewage and rain water system. Despite meteorologists' warnings no emergency plan was prepared and no warnings were issued.
İstanbul - BIA News Center
10 September 2009, Thursday
The Istanbul Branch of the Environmental Engineers Chamber (ÇMO) stated the dimension of the flood originated in neglecting the basic knowledge of not erecting settlements close to river banks, which has been known for more than 2,000 years.
Özlem Eylem Tuncaelli, president of ÇMO Istanbul, voiced the following ascertainments:
Always the same places: We got used to hearing the same places in the course of floods for years: Kağıthane, Alibeyköy, İkitelli, Silivri... It is the nightmare of the poor, the flood is a natural disaster that only hits the areas of the poor. The reason for this are the authorities issuing entries in the land register for homes and offices close to river banks. They are even encouraging these settlements by approving them. At the same time the insufficient infrastructure is not improved and stream reclamation works are not done with proper scientific techniques.
Lack of emergency plan and prior warning: Warnings to stay at home or to evacuate houses in dangerous areas are issued by the authorities only to hide their imprudence and improvidence. Despite meteorologists' massive warnings neither an emergency plan had been prepared nor had a warning been issued before the current flood.
Rain and waste water should be collected separately: As a scientific fact sewage and rain water must be collected in separate systems as it is done in many countries. This prevents pipes from bursting of overload after heavy rainfalls. At the same time appropriate manhole covers and street slopes prevent pools on the road emerging after moderate rain and often causing traffic congestion or accidents.
Problematic management of rain and waste water: While the Istanbul Municipality Waterworks (İSKİ) is responsible of the sewage services, municipal boroughs are in charge of rain water collection. Administrative chaos is caused because both waste water and rain water are collected in the same pipes. This means that complete planning, application and control services cannot be provided.
Stream reclamation works have been neglected: In 2006 the Metropolitan Municipality announced to finish reclamation works for 68 streams with a total length of 603 km within the coming 3 years, investing 4 billion dollar. Yet, according to the annual report of 2008, only 38.4 km of stream reclamation works have been completed. (TK/VK)