Istanbul : Scared tourists in Turkey on Saturday waited for rescue boats to reach the seashore after they were asked to evacuate some hotels at the Aegean resort of Bodrum due to threats posed by a nearby forest fire. Media told.
Coast Guard units were leading the operation and officials asked private boats and yachts to assist with efforts to evacuate from the sea as new wildfires broke out. In the video, plumes of smoke and fire are visible on a hill by the sea.
The death toll from forest fires in Turkey’s Mediterranean cities rose to six on Saturday after two forest workers were killed, the country’s health minister said. Fires across Turkey since Wednesday have burned forests and some settlements, encroached on villages and tourist sites and forced people to evacuate.
The Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Bekir Pakdemirli, said on Saturday that 91 of the 101 fires that broke out amid strong winds and scorching heat have been brought under control. Neighborhoods affected by the fire in five provinces were declared disaster zones by Turkey’s Emergency and Disasters Authority.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inspected some damage from a helicopter on Saturday.
Speaking from the city of Manavgat, Erdogan announced that the Turkish government would cover the rents of those affected by the fire and rebuild their homes. He said tax, social security and loan payments for those affected would be postponed and loans would be offered with zero interest to small businesses.
“We can do nothing but wish for God’s mercy for the lives we lost, but we can replace whatever was burnt,” he said.
Erdogan said the number of firefighters, including planes from Ukraine, Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran, had been increased from six to 13, and thousands of Turkish personnel as well as dozens of helicopters and drones were assisting in extinguishing the fire. .
At least five people have died in the fire at Manavghat and one in Marmaris. Both cities are Mediterranean tourist destinations. Tourism is an important source of revenue for Turkey, and business owners expected this summer to be much better than last year, when pandemic travel restrictions curtailed tourism.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 400 people affected by the fire at Manavghat were treated in hospitals and released, while 10 others were still hospitalised. In Marmaris, 159 people were treated in a hospital and one person is still being treated for burns.
In southern Hate province, flames spread to populated areas, but were later apparently brought under control.
Wildfires are common during the dry summer months in the Mediterranean and Aegean regions of Turkey. Turkey has attributed some of the past forest fires to arson or banned Kurdish militants. Erdogan said on Saturday that officials were investigating the possibility of a fire caused by “sabotage”.
Meanwhile, a heat wave across southern Europe, fed by warm air from Africa, has sparked wildfires in the Mediterranean.
Firefighters on the Italian island of Sicily battled dozens of blazes on Saturday as high temperatures prompted the region’s governor to request aid from Rome. About 150 people stranded in two seaside areas in the city of Catania were rescued by sea late Friday, where they were picked up by rubber dinghies and transferred to Coast Guard boats.
Temperatures are expected to climb to 42 degrees Celsius (more than 107 Fahrenheit) in southeastern Europe on Monday in Greece and surrounding countries in several cities and towns.