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

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

Coastguard vessels were joined by private boats and yachts to bring tourists to safety, Turkish media reported on Saturday. Videos posted online showed people rolling their suitcases along the road as smoke from wildfires rose into the sky.

Six people have died and more than 500 have had to be hospitalized in Turkey’s Mediterranean cities because of the fires that have raged across the country since Wednesday, burning down forests and some settlements, encroaching on villages and tourist destinations.

A severe heat wave swept through much of south-eastern 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 taken to safety from the seaside around Catania.

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

In Turkey, more than 100 Russian tourists have been evacuated from Bodrum and relocated to new hotels, according to Russian news agency Sputnik. In video of the Bodrum fire taken from the sea, a man helping with evacuations was stunned by the speed of the blaze, saying: “It’s amazing, just amazing. How did this fire happen so quickly in five minutes? “

Bekir Pakdemirli, the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, said 91 of the 101 fires that broke out amid high 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 caused by a helicopter. He said the number of firefighting planes had increased from six to 13, including planes from Ukraine, Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran, and that thousands of Turkish personnel as well as tens of helicopters and drones were providing assistance.

In a speech in Marmaris on Saturday evening, Erdogan said one of the fires was started by children.

At least five people died from the fires in Manavgat and one in Marmaris. Both cities 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 residents of four villages near Patras to leave by sending emergency text messages, but local media reported that some villagers had stayed and were trying to fight the fires with hoses. watering.

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

Italian civil protection authorities said they had received 558 requests from regions to help tackle bush and forest fires this season, a third in the last week alone. This makes it the fourth worst fire season since 2007.


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