The number of sinkholes has risen substantially in a year due to the excessive use of groundwater for irrigation purposes in the Central Anatolian province of Afyonkarahisar.
Sinkholes that are wide enough to swallow a house have been dotting the drought-stricken plains in the neighboring Konya province for the past few years, worrying farmers as they spread and creep closer to residential areas.
The area affected by the massive sinkholes expanded over time and spread to the surrounding of the Konya Plain, which is at the heart of the country’s agriculture capital that is highly affected by drought caused by global warming.
While authorities have been working on plans to fill the gaps formed, the number of sinkholes, which was around 330 last year, almost doubled to 600 in the region this year.
A recent sinkhole that formed in the Afyonkarahisar’s Emirdağ district, taking the number to 10 sinkholes in the district so far, has reached a depth of 30 meters with a width of 20 meters.
No casualties have been reported so far, but sinkholes make a significant portion of fields unusable.
Locals said they were worried about sinkholes increasingly appearing as they pose a danger to agricultural life.
Speaking to Demirören News Agency, Eşref Koç, a farmer in the region, said that the largest sinkhole, which was small in size at first, started to expand later with time, urging officials to take necessary action.
Mustafa Soysal, another local, who noticed sinkholes forming in fields while grazing his animals, said he was afraid for animals who might fall into these pits.
Sinkholes are a fairly recent phenomenon, but the uncontrolled use of water since the 1970s is considered the main factor behind their rise.
The Sinkhole Application and Research Center in the province of Konya has initiated a comprehensive study on sinkholes recently.
Hurriyet Daily News