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Death toll from forest fires in southeastern Turkey rises to 11

Death toll from forest fires in southeastern Turkey rises to 11
Death toll from forest fires in southeastern Turkey rises to 11


Death toll from forest fires in southeastern Turkey rises to 11

CINAR, Turkey, June 21, 2024 (BSS/AFP) – A huge forest fire has devastated
Several villages in the predominantly Kurdish southeast of Turkey killed 11 people overnight.
people, authorities announced Friday.

Hundreds of animals also perished in the fire which ravaged the arid lands.
landscape, sending flames into the night sky.

By morning, the fire had left large areas of charred and blackened land.
several areas of Diyarbakir and Mardin provinces.

“11 people lost their lives,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca wrote on
figure up from the five previously reported.

He said 78 people were affected by the fires, adding that five patients were affected.
under intensive care.

The pro-Kurdish Turkish party DEM, which won many municipalities in the
southeast during the local elections of March 31, criticized the government
intervention deemed “late and insufficient”.

During the night, DEM had urged the government to send water bombers, saying
fighting the fire from the ground was “not enough”.

An AFP journalist in the village of Koksalan, in Diyarbakir province, saw around a hundred people.
animals lying dead on the ground.

– Animals have perished –

Residents told AFP that about half of their flock of around 1,000 sheep and goats had
died in the fire.

A local veterinarian confirmed that about half the herd had died, but gave no indication.
precise number, telling AFP that many other people were being treated for burns.

Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya blamed the fire on “stubble burning” which
started late Thursday and spread quickly due to strong winds, affecting
five villages.

Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said the X that the prosecution had
opened an investigation into the causes of the fire.

Turkey has seen 74 forest fires so far this year, which have ravaged
12,910 hectares (31,900 acres) of land, according to European Forest Fire
Information System (EFFIS).

In the summer of 2021, Turkey experienced the worst forest fires on record. They claimed
nine lives and destroyed vast tracts of forest land across its
Mediterranean and Aegean coasts.

The disaster sparked a political crisis after it emerged that Turkey had not
operational firefighting aircraft.

This put pressure on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was forced to agree
international aid.

This also prompted Ankara to push through Turkey's late ratification of the deal.
Paris climate agreement, becoming the last of the Group of 20 major economies to
do it.

Experts say climate change will cause more frequent and intense consequences.
forest fires and other natural disasters in Türkiye unless measures are taken to
tackle the problem.




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