Wildfires blaze on in drought-hit Turkey as criticism grows


Firefighters utilizing planes and helicopters, and locals with buckets of water, battled wildfires raging for a sixth day near southern resorts in drought-hit Turkey and the federal government confronted contemporary criticism of its dealing with of the catastrophe.

Seven fires have been nonetheless burning on Monday, fanned by temperatures above 40 levels Celsius (104°F), sturdy winds and low humidity, Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli mentioned.

Huge flames engulfed timber on a hillside near the coastal resort of Marmaris, photographs filmed by Reuters confirmed, whereas drone footage revealed a gray panorama close by the place fires had left smouldering buildings and blackened tree trunks.

A firefighting helicopter drops water to a wildfire near Marmaris, Turkey, August 2, 2021. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

While 16 planes and 51 helicopters tackled the blazes throughout a swathe of southwest Turkey, villagers carrying water containers up a hill to combat a fireplace near Marmaris mentioned the federal government was not doing sufficient to assist them.

“We are here as the entire village, from the locals to others. We didn’t run or anything, so the government must see this and also not run away. It must send some of its planes here,” a lady referred to as Gulhan instructed Reuters.

The heatwave exacerbating the fires comes after months of exceptionally dry climate in Turkey’s southwest, based on maps issued by meteorological authorities.

Data from the European Forest Fire Information Service confirmed there have been 3 times as many fires as normal this 12 months, whereas the 136,000 hectares burnt have been almost 3 times the world burnt on common in a complete 12 months.

Engin Ozkoc, a senior determine in the principle opposition CHP, referred to as on Pakdemirli to resign for failing to adequately put together.

A bulldozer opens the way to firefighters to help them to extinguish a wildfire near Marmaris, Turkey, August 2, 2021. REUTERS/Umit Bektas TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY


“You don’t deserve that ministry. You didn’t foresee this and buy firefighting planes,” he mentioned, criticising the quantity of aerial sources accessible.

The European Union mentioned it had helped mobilise three fire-fighting planes on Sunday. One from Croatia and two from Spain joined groups from Russia, Iran, Ukraine and Azerbaijan.

Read More: Death toll in Turkey wildfires rises to eight, coastal resorts affected

President Tayyip Erdogan’s communications director, Fahrettin Altun, rejected criticism of the federal government’s dealing with of the fires and condemned a social media marketing campaign calling for overseas assist.

“Our Turkey is strong. Our state is standing tall,” Altun mentioned on Twitter, describing most details about the fires on social media as “fake news”. “All our losses will be compensated for.”

Firefighters extinguish a wildfire in the Mazi region near Bodrum, Turkey, August 2, 2021. REUTERS/Kenan Gurbuz

Eight individuals have been killed within the wildfires, however there have been no reviews of additional casualties on Monday.

Since Wednesday, hundreds of individuals have been evacuated from their properties and a few vacationers have left their lodges, though Tourism Minister Mehmet Ersoy mentioned holidaymakers had returned inside hours.

Firefighters and volunteers extinguish a wildfire near Marmaris, Turkey, August 2, 2021. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

The wildfires are one other blow to Turkey’s tourism trade following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bulent Bulbuloglu, head of the South Aegean Hoteliers Association, mentioned 10% of reservations had been cancelled in Bodrum and Marmaris. Others had reduce their visits brief.


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