Fire ravages village in northeastern province
In a statement, the Artvin Governor’s Office said the fire erupted in the Dereiçi village of Yusufeli district.
“Around 400 people live in 170 houses. Around 60 of them have been burned. Thankfully, no villager has been hurt,” Governor Yılmaz Doruk told state-run Anadolu Agency.
Deputy Interior Minister İsmail Çataklı said on a social media account that the villagers were evacuated and the fire has largely been taken under control in eight hours.
The cause of the fire remains unknown, Çataklı added.
The Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) has sent an emergency aid of 1 million Turkish Liras (around $132,000).
Calling the fire “a big disaster,” Sabri Duman, the local head of the village, blamed “heavy winds” for the fast spread of the fire.
“We tried to intervene but because of the heavy winds, the fire spread to the haylofts and barns. We could not do anything,” Duman noted.
“Today we felt hell here, in our village,” said Fatma Erdem, a local. “Unfortunately, most of the village burned,” said another, Ahmet Duman.
According to Demirören News Agency, the village witnessed a similar fire 21 years ago too. In the fire that broke out in September 2000, some 20 houses were damaged and tens of livestock were killed.