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Wildfires hit areas of southeastern Turkey, deaths reported

June 21, 2024

Authorities say at least five people have been killed by wildfires in southeastern parts, while dozens more have been injured.

A wildfire burning overnight in Diyarbakir, Turkey
Three people lost their lives in the Diyarbakir area and two died in Mardin according to Turkey's health ministerImage: Anka

Wildfires in southeastern Turkey have claimed the lives of at least five people and injured dozens of others, according to the country's health minister.

"Five people died and 44 were injured, 10 seriously," when the blaze swept through two areas between the cities of Diyarbakir and Mardin, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Deaths in Diyarbakir and Mardin

Koca offered his condolences to the victims of the fires.

"Unfortunately three citizens of the Diyarbakir area and two in the Mardin area lost their lives," he said, adding that emergency teams along with 35 ambulances had been dispatched to deal with the situation.

Turkey's Minister of Interior Ali Yerlikaya said that the fire began in scrub in the rural district of Koksalan in Diyarbakir province around 22:15 p.m. (1915 GMT/UTC).

Yerlikaya said the fire was spurred on by strong winds and advanced toward other neighborhoods in Mardin.

The minister said that fire teams had managed to gain control of the fire and that cooling efforts were underway.

Wildfire in northeast Turkey contained

Meanwhile in northwest Turkey, efforts were underway to contain a wildfire near the town of Ayvacik in Canakkale province, according to a statement by the province.

No one was injured but authorities evacuated the small village of Camkoy as a precaution, the statement read. It was one of a number of wildfires to have broken out in the province in the space of a week, amid strong winds and hot summer temperatures.

In 2021, wildfires tore through countries in southern Europe, with Turkey experiencing the worst wildfires seen in a decade.

The fires were fueled by high temperatures and extremely dry conditions, laying waste to vast tracts of land and resulting in the loss of lives.

Are Turkey's wildfires a political disaster?

kb/rmt (AFP, AP, DW sources)