The disaster risk map published by the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) on Sunday sheds light on the scale of natural catastrophes threatening Turkey. Based on 2021 data, the map shows the country experienced 107 floods, 66 big forest fires, 16 cases of heavy snowfall or blizzards, and 39 landslides.
According to the map, most landslides and floods were reported in western and eastern parts of the Black Sea region in the north while forest fires were most common in the Aegean and the Mediterranean regions in the west and south.
AFAD launched the Disaster Risk Analysis System (ARAS) in 2017 to gain further insight and prevent future disasters through the analysis. The system gathers data from different agencies to provide a common platform for relevant disaster response agencies to better analyze the risks and coordinate. Since 2017, AFAD crews have recorded thousands of incidents, major and minor, and monitored risks from landslides, avalanches, sinkholes and other natural threats.
Founded in 2009 after combining different disaster response agencies, AFAD is at the forefront of efforts against human-made and natural disasters. Last year, it intervened in 1,760 cases, from floods to earthquakes. Worst among them were the severe floods in the Black Sea region that killed dozens. AFAD said it deployed more than 14,000 personnel to areas affected by floods in Düzce, Rize, Artvin and the western Black Sea. AFAD also responded to the forest fires in the Mediterranean region, which killed eight people, with more than 22,000 personnel.
Turkey is facing the fallout of the climate crisis with its fair share of disasters. Although the country is accustomed to forest fires, floods, earthquakes and avalanches, they have been aggravated in recent years due to unusual temperature changes stemming from climate change. For instance, 2020 was the second-worst year in recent memory, with the highest number of weather-related disasters, from floods to storms.