Turks flee their homes due to forest fires


Published: 2021-08-01 15:27

Last Updated: 2021-09-25 15:08

Source: Daily Sabah
Source: Daily Sabah

Wildfires in southern Turkey forced more residents to flee their homes Sunday as pressure mounted on the government over its delay in action.

Official data showed that Turkey suffered the worst fires in at least a decade, with about 95,000 hectares destroyed so far this year, compared to an average of 13,516 so far this year between 2008 and 2020.

Since the fires broke out on Wednesday, six people have died and more than 330 medical treatments have been received.

CNN Turk reported that a neighborhood in the tourist city of Bodrum was evacuated, as strong winds caught fire from nearby Milas.

She explained that 540 people were evacuated by boat due to the dangers of evacuating them via land routes. The station "NTVN" that more evacuations took place in the village of Sirtkoy in Antalya province, while gray clouds of smoke covered the houses.

Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said 107 of the 112 fires are now under control, but some have continued in resorts in Antalya and Mugla.

Temperatures are expected to remain high in the region, in line with record levels last month.

The Directorate General of Meteorology recorded a degree of 49.1 on July 20 in the town of Jazra, in Sirnak Governorate.

The temperature in Antalya on Monday is expected to reach 40 degrees Celsius.

The Turkish Ministry of Defense published satellite images showing the extent of the destruction, as forest areas turned black and smoke was still visible.

The opposition attacked President Recep Tayyip Erdogan late on Saturday after video footage showed the president throwing tea bags at residents in fire-stricken areas.

In another video, he is seen throwing tea at residents on the side of the road from a bus.

"Tea! It's incredible. Those without shame, without hearts too," opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) spokesman Faik Oztrak wrote on Twitter.

The government has also been criticized for a shortage of firefighting aircraft, with Turkey forced to accept aid from Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia and Ukraine.

Experts warn that climate change will do more harm to Turkey , causing more forest fires if action is not taken to tackle the problem.

According to EU figures, Turkey has experienced 133 fires this year compared to an average of 43 by this time of year between 2008 and 2020.