Turkey’s wildfire death toll rises to eight, resorts hit


ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The wildfire toll on Turkey’s southern coast rose to eight on Sunday as firefighters fought for a fifth day to contain the fires that still rage at coastal resorts.

Two more people died on Sunday due to wildfires in the southern city of Manavgat, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said, adding that 10 others were receiving treatment at the region’s hospital.

Most of the more than 100 fires that have broken out in Turkey in the past five days have been contained, authorities said. However, fires were still flaring up in Manavgat, Marmaris and the inner city of Milas, said Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli, prompting the evacuation of some residential areas and hotels.

In the popular resort town of Bodrum, a group of tourists and hotel staff were evacuated by boat as flames spread and plumes of smoke filled the sky, footage showed. Pakdemirli said the blaze in the area was brought under control on Sunday morning.

The fires had claimed the lives of five people in Manavgat and one in Marmaris in recent days. Efforts were made to put out six still-burning fires in Turkey on Sunday, according to data from the Forestry Ministry.

Since Wednesday, thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes. Residents as well as support teams from Russia, Ukraine, Iran and Azerbaijan were deployed to assist the firefighters. The Turkish government has pledged to rebuild damaged houses and compensate for losses in areas affected by the fires.

Pakdemirli said at least 13 planes, 45 helicopters, drones and 828 firefighting vehicles were involved in the firefighting efforts.

The EU said it helped mobilize three firefighting planes on Sunday, one from Croatia and two from Spain, after Turkey activated a disaster response program to call for l aid to other European countries. Turkey is not a member of the EU.

In neighboring Greece https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/greece-issues-wildfires-warning-over-dangerous-heatwave-2021-07-30, firefighters were trying to contain a burning forest fire in the country which destroyed homes and left 15 citizens in hospital with respiratory problems on Saturday, authorities said. Temperatures have been high across much of the country in recent days and are expected to reach 44 degrees Celsius on Monday and Tuesday.

On the Italian island of Sicily https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/firemen-fighting-wildfires-sicilian-town-catania-2021-07-31, firefighters said on Saturday they were fighting for a second day in a row forest fires have reached the city of Catania, forcing people to leave their homes and the local airport to temporarily close.

(Reporting by Yesim Dikmen in Istanbul and Eleftherios Papadimas in Athens; additional reporting by Kate Abnett in Brussels Editing by Ezgi Erkoyun Editing by Frances Kerry, Susan Fenton and Chris Reese)


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