Serious warnings have been given by Chairman of the Chamber of Civil Engineers, Gürkan Yağcıoğlu regarding the site of the new pandemic hospital which is being constructed in a flood plain.
“The willful and deliberate and construction of the pandemic hospital on the streambed and the sewerage system is an invitation for the loss of life and property and the spread of the epidemic,” he said.
Yağcıoğlu said that they had watched with concern and dismay, the construction of a pandemic hospital being built in an area with high flood and overflow risk from the Gönyeli reservoir and the LTB sewerage system, despite all warnings given by the Union of the Chambers of Cyprus Turkish Engineers and Architects (KTMMOB) and the Chamber of Civil Engineers.
Flooding in the Designated Location Since 2010
The statement issued by Gürkan Yağcıoğlu, President of the Chamber of Civil Engineers is as follows:
“As you know, the year 2020 continues with the fight against the COVID-19 virus in our country simultaneously with all countries of the world.
“It is seen that the health and economic systems of countries that are stronger than developing countries such as our country are turned upside down due to the emergence of the virus. All countries have begun to take measures to combat the pandemic threat, to change the measures taken and as a result, are experiencing many indirect problems.
“…. In the flood risk studies conducted by our academicians, who are members of our chamber, in our district of Nicosia, it has been revealed that the aforementioned region has a high flood risk and these studies have been carried out with all relevant governmental institutions (Presidency, Prime Ministry Disaster “and Emergency Management Committee, Civil Defense Organisation) and shared in the meetings where KTMMOB and İMO were present. In addition, the fact that many floods have actually been experienced in the specified location since 2010, justifies these reports.”
Yağcıoğlu emphasised that the public had a right to know, and concluded that the decision, which was arbitrary in his view, to build in the floodplain, should be reversed.
Meanwhile, in a statement made on behalf of the Board of the Biologists Association, Hasan Sarpten also pointed out that the site where the pandemic hospital will be built, is within the Gönyeli reservoir flood zone.
Sarpten’s statement is as follows:
“.... In fact, the process of combating the pandemic, initiated correctly by the government, has been eliminated by prioritizing economic concerns over health. As a result, with the rapid opening of borders without quarantine as of July 1, Covid-19 has turned into a nightmare for our people again. Of course, as a society, it was not possible to stay closed forever and a gradual opening had to begin as long as we were ready for the second wave. However, it is an indisputable fact that the government did not make any necessary preparations, could not improve the health system or even solve the pandemic hospital problem by September. So much so that the government, which does not know what it is doing about the hospital, which is constantly discussed in different ways, cannot be expected to manage the pandemic situation.
“It was said that first Famagusta State Hospital would be a pandemic hospital, then it would be inside the existing state hospital in Nicosia. It was said for a while that it can be built in Kyrenia, or it can be completed in part the hospital in Güzelyurt. Later, it was said that a private hospital would be purchased and a pandemic hospital would be built. No steps were taken for six months during all this talk. Then, one morning, we learned that, without any official project approval, bulldozers were starting to work in an area that was essentially a streambed to build a hospital that could be considered illegal in all respects.
“The place where the pandemic hospital will be built is within the floodplain of the Gönyeli reservoir. A part of the existing hospital is already in the flood area and a channel has been built by the hospital to divert the flood waters. However, as happened in the recent past, this channel is insufficient to cope with overflow from the Gönyeli reservoir. If the pandemic hospital is built here, it is inevitable that the hospital will be flooded in a few months.
“...continuing in an unfamiliar and chaotic manner in parallel with the government’s Covid-19 management strategy, the project design and tender processes, the authority of the contractor doing it now, in short, all the things done in this process are illegal.”