The Forestry and Water Affairs Ministry issued a warning against floods stemming from snow suddenly melting as temperatures gradually rise in Turkey with the onset of spring.
Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroğlu said in a written statement that the melting of snow accumulated on higher ground during the winter and occasional downpours may likely cause floods across the country, especially in the northeastern and eastern regions that are more susceptible to floods due to their climate. He lamented past mistakes of issuing building permits for housing complexes on areas designated as riverbeds, "misplaced bridges cutting the flow of rivers and roads built on the banks of streams" that aggravated casualties and property losses during floods. The minister also called on local authorities to remain vigilant against potential floods especially in those areas.
Unregulated urban and rural development has long been a thorny issue plaguing both big cities and small towns in Turkey. Haphazard urban planning and authorities turning a blind eye to illegal housing were among the factors blamed for a flood disaster in the northeastern city of Artvin in August 2015, which claimed 10 lives. Though new zoning plans and strict measures against illegal construction helped to reduce the damage floods and other disasters inflict, experts say more needs to be done for comprehensive housing reforms. Turkey has an early warning system against floods that helps reduce the casualties by timely evacuation though the demolition of illegally built structures.