Turkey is in a state of despair with the southern coastline burning for over a week as rescue teams work on overdrive to save people from the devastating wildfires. Eight people have lost their lives till now to the dangerous flames as it reaches neighbouring Greece.
Over the past seven days, more than 130 wildfires have been reported across 30 Turkish provinces, most along the Mediterranean and Aegean Sea coasts while some have been in areas around Antalya, Mugla, and Marmaris.
According to the European Forest Fire Information Service, over 1,36,000 hectares of land have been burned in 2021, which is three times more than the average.
Videos showed fires particularly serious on the Turkish Mediterranean coast, where strong winds hindered efforts of emergency forces battling against time to control it. With hashtag #PrayforTurkey and #TurkeyisBurning, netizens in and outside the country have been trying to draw attention to the severity of the situation.
Turkey’s defence ministry released satellite images showing the extent of the damage, with forest areas turned black and smoke still visible.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been criticised after it emerged that Turkey has no firefighting planes even though one-third of its territory is forested and fires are becoming increasingly frequent.
According to EU figures, Turkey has been hit by 133 wildfires in 2021 so far compared with an average of 43 by this point in the years between 2008 and 2020. 13,500 hectares had been burnt in Greece, compared with an average of 7,500 at this point in the year from 2008-20.
Italy was also again hit by fires after more than 20,000 hectares of forest, olive groves and crops were destroyed by a blaze in Sardinia last weekend. More than 800 flare-ups were recorded this weekend, mainly in the south, Italy’s fire brigade said.