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UPDATE - 70 forest fires across Turkey under control: Official

UPDATE - 70 forest fires across Turkey under control: Official
Wildfires in southern Turkey kill 3 in Antalya, 1 in Mugla, efforts continue to douse flames


By Hatice Ozdemir Tosun, Ayse Yildiz, Suleyman Elcin, Yusuf Sahbaz, and Ayse Bocuoglu Bodur

ANTALYA, Turkey (AA) – Turkey has brought 70 of forest fires raging across the country under control, a senior official said on Friday. country’s southern coastal regions

In a latest update on the recent forest fires, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said on Twitter that 4,000 personnel, six planes, nine unmanned aerial vehicles, one unmanned helicopter, 45 helicopters, 55 heavy duty vehicles, and 1,080 water tenders are joining the efforts to tame the flames.

Pakdemirli also shared a list which showed that fire crews are still fighting blazes in 11 locations to bring them under control.

Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum, and Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu joined Pakdemirli for a press conference to share the latest developments on the forest fires burning over the past several days in various parts of the country.

The forest fires have since Wednesday in the southern provinces of Mersin, Osmaniye, Adana, Antalya, and Kahramanmaras. Blazes also broke out in the southwestern province of Mugla and central provinces of Kirikkale and Kayseri.

Speaking on the fires in Mugla, Pakdemirli said there had been "minor damages" in the resort town of Marmaris, Mugla.

"It doesn't threaten the settlements, there's a fire moving towards the sea," he said.

He also emphasized that official investigations into the cause of the fires continue.

"Judicial and law enforcement authorities continue their investigation into the cause of the fires. A statement will be made once important findings are uncovered," he said.

Citing widespread speculation on social media, Pakdemirli also urged the public against relying on uncorroborated information from nonofficial sources.

As a measure to ease the financial burden of victims of the flames, loan repayments for those injured will be postponed, he stated.

To help heal the environment after the blazes are doused, he said, new trees will be planted to replace those that charred, with afforestation work to start at the end of October and beginning of November.

- Damage assessments work

Efforts to extinguish the flames continue in the region along with damage assessments, Cavusoglu told reporters.

"As of tomorrow, we'll start partial payments to our citizens whose damage has been determined," said the foreign minister.

"Three of our citizens died in Antalya and one in Mugla, we wish upon them Allah's mercy," Cavusoglu added.

He underlined that the transfer of a total of 23.5 million Turkish liras (around $2.8 million) had begun from various institutions and ministries for emergency needs amid the fires in Manavgat, Antalya.

Cavusoglu highlighted that the teams found 42 neighborhoods had been affected in the flames, and that 27 neighborhoods had been evacuated, while 15 were also partially affected in the Manavgat fires.

He also said that a coordination center was established within the provincial governor's office for the needs of people in all these neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, Antalya Governorship said all citizens other than the authorities are banned from entering all forested lands in Antalya between July 30 and Aug. 31.

- All means of state mobilized

Environment and Urbanization Minister Kurum said that according to the initial findings, a total of 2,300 buildings were found to have been affected by the fire in Manavgat.

All the means of the state have been mobilized upon the instructions of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to "heal the wounds of people affected by the fires," he said.

As part of damage assessment efforts, 252 buildings had been examined so far, Kurum said, while 126 were found to have been heavily damaged or destroyed.

He went on to say that 465 construction sites were affected by the fires in Mersin, while four villages were evacuated in Osmaniye, both lie on the southern coast of Turkey.

- 271 people affected in Manavgat fires

The Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said in a statement that the fires in Manavgat have affected 271 people, including one heavily, while 73 people are under treatment.

In the fires across Mugla, 49 people were injured due to the flames, it said. The treatment of 35 injured people continues and three people have been discharged from the hospitals, it added.

Regarding the fires in Mersin, AFAD said 6,386 people from Aydincik and Silifke districts were evacuated to safe areas.

In the southern Adana province, forest fires broke out in 21 locations on Thursday, it said, with efforts continue to extinguish fires in Aladag, Kozan and Kadirli regions. Ten people were affected by the fires, and the treatment of eight continues at hospitals.

*Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev, Gozde Bayar and Burak Dag from Ankara

source: News Feed
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