Turkey aims to bring all forest fires under control on Friday
'We managed to prevent blazes from advancing further despite strong winds today,' says foreign minister
Battling wildfires for over a week, Turkey said Thursday that it aims to bring all of them under control on Friday.
"We managed to prevent the blazes from advancing further despite strong winds today," said Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. "We aim to bring them totally under control tomorrow."
His remarks came in the fire-hit coastal province of Antalya in southern Turkey before a meeting at the coordination center of the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) in Manavgat district.
Regarding the forest fires in Manavgat, one of the hardest-hit regions, Cavusoglu said the fire response by air and land stopped the flames from spreading further.
Over 6,500 people and more than 1,800 vehicles have engaged in operations to contain the wildfires, he said, adding air elements had made 1,650 sorties today alone.
At least 770 people have been affected by the fires, with six of them currently receiving treatment in hospitals, Cavusoglu added. As many as 1,352 buildings are seriously damaged or completely destroyed.
So far, 17 million Turkish liras (almost $2 million) has been distributed for 1,055 families affected by the fires, he said, adding "we will quickly provide financial aid for citizens in areas which have been damaged."
Cavusoglu also said that the US offered to send two helicopters to help Turkey battle the massive fires and that the two countries are now working on the details.
-Removing traces of disaster
Turkey’s Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu also spoke from AFAD’s coordination center in Manavgat.
The government has put extraordinary efforts into fighting the fires since they erupted nine days ago, Karaismailoglu said before the evaluation meeting at the center.
”We will make great efforts to remove the traces of this disaster,” he stressed.
Noting that they are visiting the neighborhoods affected by the fires one by one, he said they are determining the needs of people on the ground.
”We continue to work effectively and in coordination with all our ministries and relevant institutions to meet these needs quickly,” he added.
Turkey has successfully contained a total of 180 wildfires in the last nine days, the country’s agriculture and forestry minister said Thursday.
The wildfires erupted in 38 of the country's 81 provinces, Bekir Pakdemirli said on Twitter, adding efforts are underway to put out the remaining 13 blazes in six provinces -- Adana, Antalya, Aydin, Denizli, Isparta and Mugla.
According to official figures, at least eight people have lost their lives since the fires started on July 28.
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