20 June 2019

Arakli: devastating debris flows in Trabzon province in Turkey yesterday

Posted by Dave Petley

Arakli: devastating debris flows in Trabzon province in Turkey yesterday

Intense rainfall yesterday (19th June 2019) in Trabzon province in Turkey triggered a series of devastating debris flows in the hilly Arakli area close to the Black Sea coast.  News reports suggest that seven people are known to have died in the disaster, and a further seven people are missing.  Worst affected appears to be the communities of Çamlıktepe and Yeşilyurt, in the Arakli area, where reports suggest that ten lives have been lost. This image, from mynet.com, gives a good perspective of the aftermath of one of the affected areas:-

The debris flows at Arkali

The aftermath of one of the debris flows at Arakli in Trabzon, Turkey. Image via mynet.com


There are some images available via Twitter that show this site during the main part of the event:-

The debris flow at Arkali in Turkey

An image, posted to Twitter, showing the debris flow at Arakli in Turkey on 19th June 2019


There is also a short video on Twitter that appears to show the arrival of one of the debris flow waves.  This is an uncomfortable video to watch as the terror of the person filming the event is very clear.

There is an article in English on the Daily Sabah about this event.  Interestingly, it suggests that the debris flows may have been associated with landslides upstream:-

“Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, who was a former lawmaker from Trabzon, joined Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli for a visit to the flooded areas yesterday. Soylu told reporters that the epicenter of the disaster was the confluence of two rivers and heavy rainfall hitting a hill where the neighborhoods are located triggered landslides.”

However, there is also a strong suggestion in the Turkish media that a hydroelectric scheme located upstream may also have played a role, although it is not clear to me as to how this might have occurred.  Images over the next few days may shed light on that, although further rainfall is forecast.