The coastal region of Turkey has been devastated by forest fires in the past few days, killing at least eight people in the disaster – but some locals bravely tackled the fire.
The fires, which continue to rage in parts of Turkey, have resulted in entire villages and beaches being evacuated in almost 40 of Turkey’s 81 provinces.
That’s about 10,000 people.
ReutersResidents fight the local fire with water bottles despite evacuation.
According to a government spokesman, firefighters had 147 of 156 fires with more than 5,000 helpers under control by Tuesday.
But frustrated locals in Marmais town tried to control the flames on their doorstep on Monday.
They furiously reported to reporters the shortage of planes and helicopters that had not yet come to their aid, even though the fires had been burning for five days.
Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesA man tries to put out a fire near the Cardak district in the Manavgat district of Antalya, Turkey.
Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesPeople help fight forest fires that broke out in the Manavgat district of Antalya.
At 40 degrees Celsius, the Turkish flames were difficult to extinguish due to the low humidity and the strong wind.
The local resident Gulhan pointed to her efforts against the burning forests and said: “This cannot be done without air support, my friend, what can we do?”
In an interview with Reuters, she continued: “For God’s sake, you can’t do that without a helicopter.
“What should we do, blow up? You see, we are here as the whole village, locals and others.
“We didn’t run away or anything, so the government has to see that and not run away, they have to send some of their planes over here.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised to help those affected rebuild their lives, but faces continued criticism of Turkey’s preparation for such an event.
The public has blamed him for the lack of fire-fighting planes in the country, only to get Erdogan to tell citizens, “The main reason for these problems with airplanes is that the Turkish Aviation Association has not been able to upgrade its fleet and technology.”
Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesDue to the low humidity and the strong wind, flames were difficult to extinguish.
Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesThe Turkish government is still far from clear about how to deal with the crisis.
As the fires worsened, Turkey activated a civil protection program in an appeal for international aid.
The EU has dispatched three special aircraft from Croatia and Spain to fight the overwhelming fire.
Erdogan also said planes from Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia and Ukraine are now involved in the operation.
However, the Turkish government is still far from clear about how it is dealing with the crisis.
The results of the European Forest Fire Information Service showed that there were three times as many fires in the past 12 months as in previous years, which begs the question of why they did not have enough fire-fighting planes of their own before the fires started last week.
Erdogan’s communications director Fahrettin Altun took up the online criticism of the Turkish government and tweeted: “Our Turkey is strong. Our state stands upright. “
He also spoke out against the “fake news” allegedly circulating online, while the Turkish media watchdog RTUK today warned reporters not to weaken the “morality” of firefighters by focusing on the fires that still need to be fought.
The hashtag #Turkeyisburning has now reached 42.2 million views on TikTok.
Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesA forest fire in Mulga, Turkey this week
Two days ago there was further outrage after videos surfaced online that appeared to show Erodogan throwing boxes of tea out of his car window while visiting one of the towns in the Manavgat disaster area.