Tuesday, June 28

Tourists rescued from burning Mediterranean resorts by a flotilla of boats | Turkey

Tourists have been evacuated from beaches by rescue boats in Turkey after forest fires threatened hotels in the Aegean resort of Bodrum.

Coast Guard ships joined private boats and yachts to take tourists to safety, according to Turkish media on Saturday. Videos posted online showed people carrying their suitcases down the road as smoke from wildfires billowed into the sky.

Six people died and more than 500 needed hospital treatment in Turkey’s Mediterranean cities due to fires that have spread across the country since Wednesday, burning forests and some settlements, invading towns and tourist destinations.

A strong heat wave has swept across much of southeastern Europe, with temperatures exceeding 40 ° C in some places.

Forest fires have also broken out in Greece and Italy. Four villages were evacuated in the mountains around Patras in western Greece, while in Sicily 150 people were moved to safety from the coast around Catania.

A helicopter responds to the forest fire that broke out in the Marmaris district of Mugla, Turkey.
A helicopter responds to the forest fire that broke out in the Marmaris district of Mugla, Turkey. Photograph: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

In Turkey, more than 100 Russian tourists were evacuated from Bodrum and relocated to new hotels, according to the Russian news agency Sputnik. In a video of the Bodrum fire filmed from the sea, a man helping with evacuations was surprised by the speed of the fire and said: “This is unbelievable, just unbelievable. How did this fire get so fast in five minutes? “

Bekir Pakdemirli, the agriculture and forestry minister, said 91 of the 101 fires that broke out amid strong winds and scorching heat have been brought under control. Neighborhoods affected by the fire in five provinces were declared disaster areas.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited some affected areas on Saturday, inspecting the damage from a helicopter. He said the number of planes fighting the fires had risen 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 attending.

In a Marmaris speech on Saturday night, Erdogan said one of the fires had been started by children.

At least five people died from the fires in Manavgat and one died in Marmaris. Both locations are Mediterranean tourist destinations.

Forest fires on Le Capannine beach in Catania, Sicily, on July 30.
Forest fires on Le Capannine beach in Catania, Sicily, on July 30. Photograph: Roberto Viglianisi / Reuters

In Greece, the Civil Protection Agency urged people in four villages near Patras to send emergency text messages to each other, but local media reports said some villagers had stayed and were trying to fight the fires. with garden hoses.

Forest fires also affected the Sicilian provinces of Palermo, Siracusa and Messina.

Italy’s civil protection authorities said they have received 558 requests from regions to help fight forest and scrub fires this season, a third last week alone. That makes it the fourth most serious fire season since 2007.


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