In the Climate Vulnerability Report, it states that 2.5 million people were affected from climate change-related natural disasters, as a result of which an estimate of 35,000 people lost their lives in 2010 in Turkey. According to the Climate Vulnerability Report, projections put the economic cost of disasters in Turkey at 6 billion Turkish Lira.
In Turkey, the economic losses caused by floods related to climate change have reached the levels of the economic losses caused by earthquakes. Statistics show that the losses of life caused only by the lightning seen with storms have increased significantly in recent years, reaching 400.
Consequently, it has been found that the number of meteorological disasters during the start of the 21st century tripled since 1960. Insurance losses increased 15-fold and economic losses 9-fold over the same time period.
Climate change and environmental damage are the chief causes of floods.
Based on the information obtained from the State Hydraulic Works (DSİ), which is attached to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, there have been 1,452 floods in Turkey over the last 53 years, which led to the deaths of 1,316 people. Furthermore, more than 60,000 households have been damaged or destroyed during these flood disasters.
DSİ also notes that it spends USD 30 million per year to take all kinds of infrastructural measures to prevent floods. According to DSİ data, while Turkey is hit by over 80 flood disasters on average every year, these are still neglected, as most do not cause many deaths.
- Since 1989, we have experienced 384 major floods, which have cost us the lives of 548 citizens, damaging 565,600 hectares of land and causing USD 2.1 billion in damages to property.
- Over the last 20 years, 466 citizens lost their lives and 550,000 hectares of farmland was devastated by 568 floods.
- On average, the economic losses suffered due to floods amount to USD 100,000,000 annually.
Compared to the 140 floods in Turkey in 1963, more than 160 floods hit the country in 2010.
The material losses caused by floods, which accounted for 0.5% of Turkey’s GDP in 1995, have rapidly increased in recent years, almost catching up with the losses caused by earthquakes.
According to DSİ data, there were 889 cased of flood from 1975 to 2012, which killed 685 people and damaged 862,854 hectares of farmland in total, costing the national economy TL 150 million on average every year.
• There has been a significant increase in the number of storms in Turkey. After averaging less than 50 per year for many years, the number of storms reached 250 in 2010. Meteorological tornadoes, which had been unbeknown to us, started to reach devastating dimensions everywhere for the last years. Losses of life caused only by the lightning seen with storms have increased significantly in recent years, reaching 400.
In Turkey, 12% of forest fires are started by lightning. Every 1°C increase in average temperature will increase the amount of lightning by 20%. Likewise, a few degrees Celsius rise in the temperature will increase the number of forest fires exponentially.
In Turkey, forest fires destroy nearly 450 hectares of forestland every year while the number of forest fires has been on the rise since 2007.
The frosts and hails that affect agriculture should also be included in the increasingly intensifying weather events. Such meteorological events are also deemed among major disasters that cause high economic losses. Frost and hail pose the greatest risk for plant production in the agricultural sector, which is described as “an open air factory.” Considering the amount of hail across Turkey from 1940 to 2010, the number of days in a year with hail has increased from some 50 in the latter half of the 1960s to over 200 today. In some cases, hail can reach disastrous dimensions, causing loss of life and property or secondary disasters by leading to floods.
The economic toll hail disasters take on Turkey is around USD 8 million. However, these figures are believed to be significantly higher also considering the losses not covered by insurance. Every year, hails devastate crops, spill flowers and fruits, break sprouts, damage beet, cotton, tobacco, and vegetables, and kill livestock.
In Turkey, Agricultural Insurance Pool (TARSİM) is able to provide insurance across plant production, greenhouses, livestock, water products and poultry with government support. From 2007 to 2010, the amount of compensated losses was TL 121,399,481.
Plant production accounted for the largest part of this damage with TL 90,812,875. Frost and hail are the hydro-meteorological disasters that pose the greatest threat to plant production in the agriculture sector.
Although rising temperatures reduce snowfall, the frequency of avalanches is on the rise. In recent years, the number of avalanches has also increased in Turkey. The share of avalanches in the hydro-meteorological disasters in the country, which had remained stable at 3% from 1967 to 1987, increased to 8% during the period between 1998-2008.