Turkish Agriculture and Forestry Minister Vahit Kirişci on March 16 said that “the (arid) land got water” while talking about floods in two earthquake-hit provinces that claimed at least 18 lives.
“It claimed 15 lives, but on the other hand the (arid) land got water. Water increased by 300,000 cubic meters in Atatürk Dam,” Kirişci told broadcaster Habertürk TV.
His remarks stirred a huge reaction on social media.
Moreover, he previously deemed climate change as the reason for the devastation of floods. “We feel the effects of global warming and climate change in the region. In two days, it rained twice as much of Şanlıurfa’s average precipitation in March,” he said on March 15 while visiting flood-hit Şanlıurfa.
At least 17 people died after flash floods covered the southeastern provinces of Adıyaman and Şanlıurfa late on March 14.
Thousands of people were staying in tents and container houses, several of which were flooded due to severe rain, after their homes were damaged by the major earthquakes of Feb. 6.
Many shops, apartment flats, hospitals were also flooded and dozens of vehicles were damaged.
After the Feb. 6 earthquakes and then floods, criticisms mount on the Turkish government for not preparing the country for natural disasters.