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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Qatar’s amir sends Lekhwiya rescue team to Turkey amid raging wildfires


While wildfires are common in Turkey during the summer, the recent blaze has covered larger areas.

Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has dispatched a team from the Gulf state’s International Search and Rescue Group of the Internal Security Lekhwiya Force to Turkey to assist with rescue operations amid deadly wildfires.

According to Doha’s state news agency [QNA], the amir’s order was announced during a phone call held between Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani with Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu on Saturday.

Sheikh Khalid also expressed his condolences for the victims of the fire, which has so far killed at least six people. Two firefighters died on impact during rescue efforts in Manavgat on Saturday.

Wildfires sparked across several areas in Turkey on Wednesday, including Antalya, Mersin and the western coastal province of Mugla.

Turkish authorities have said that while wildfires are common in the country, the latest flames have covered more areas, with a total of 101 fires taking place in the past four days alone.

As of now, 91 of the fires have been contained.

Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes and holiday resorts since last week, with the latest blaze sparking in a Bodrum resort on Saturday.

Turkish Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca said at least 400 people in Manavgat were treated at hospitals, 10 of which have remained for treatment.

“This was our [only] saving for the past 39-40 years. We are now left with the clothes we are wearing, me and my wife. There is nothing to do. This is when words fail,” Turkish resident Mehmet Demir told Reuters as he looked around the wreckage of his home, built in 1982.

According to Reuters, smoke from the fires in both Antalya and Mersin have spread to Cyprus.

Turkish meteorological authorities said that temperatures are also expected to reach 43 Celsius-to-47 Celsius in Antalya next week.

Read also: Qatar’s amir condoles Iraq following tragic Covid-19 hospital blaze

On Friday, Turkish Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said authorities launched “comprehensive investigations” into the causes of the fires.

“This is not something we will ignore. After all, these are fires that, although broke out in different places, happened almost at the same time, from Manavgat to Marmaris and Bodrum,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the media on Friday.

President Erdogan said during a visit to Manavgat on Saturday that all damaged houses would be rebuilt and losses compensated, while declaring that affected sites are now “disaster areas”.

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