By Ron Howells • 31 July 2021 • 23:37
Turkey declares ‘disaster areas’ as wildfire death toll rises. image: Twitter
Turkey declares ‘disaster areas’ as wildfire death toll rises.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared parts of southern Turkey ravaged by wildfires as “disaster areas”, with the death toll from the fires rising to six after two forest workers were killed while trying to stem the blaze.
Fires across Turkey since Wednesday have burned down forests, encroaching on villages and tourist destinations and forcing thousands of people to evacuate.
Panicked tourists could be seen hurrying to the seashore to wait for rescue boats after being told to evacuate some hotels in the Aegean resort of Bodrum due to the dangers posed by nearby wildfires, Turkish media reported.
Coast guard units were leading the operation and authorities asked private boats and yachts to assist in evacuation efforts from the sea as new wildfires erupted. Video showed plumes of smoke and fire enveloping a hill close to the seashore.
Turkey has blamed some previous forest fires on arson or outlawed groups such as the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Erdogan said the government would provide compensation for families who lost their homes or agricultural lands. He said taxes, social security and credit payments would be postponed for those affected and small businesses would be offered credit with zero interest.
“We cannot do anything beyond wishing the mercy of God for the lives we have lost but we can replace everything that was burned,” he said.
Erdogan said the number of planes fighting the fires had been increased from six to 13, including planes from Ukraine, Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran, and that thousands of Turkish personnel, as well as dozens of helicopters and drones, were assisting the firefighting efforts.
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Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!.
Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.
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