Flood and wildfires hit Turkey
ISTANBULTurkey’s wildlife has been damaged by fires that erupted throughout the summer days as the cities and agricultural areas were hit by floods in more than 12 cities in just one week.
“6,200 hectares of forest land have been burned in 1,132 fires in 2017 alone,” said Minister of Forestry and Water Affairs Veysel Eroğlu on Aug. 5 as he was visiting the forest lands that were turned into ashes in different fires in the western province İzmir.
On July 1, a fire broke out in the Gümüldür province of Izmir, turning more than 800 hectares of woodland into ashes. Last week, in İzmir’s Bayındır province, more than 800 hectares of forest were also burned.
“The burned area will be de-forested within one year. We have averted those who try to make money out of burning forests. The comments arguing that the fires will lead to personal gains are not right,” Eroğlu added.
Wildlife in the burned areas was deeply affected by the fires, the existing ecosystem and the habitats of many species were also destroyed.
“Millions and millions of bees have died, hundreds of turtles, lives have been lost,” a villager in İzmir’s Gümüldür has said.
“Everything burns in the forest and its material value is priceless. Oxygen is gone in the field where there is no greenery left. Life is gone. The ecosystem will be destroyed and it takes 10 years for a new ecosystem and forest to form,” Chamber of Forest Engineers İzmir Branch Deputy Head Sabahattin Bilge said.
İzmir is the only one of the burned woodlands in Turkey as the Mediterranean and Aegean provinces of Muğla, Antalya and Denizli as well as the eastern province of Erzurum and the capital Ankara were hit by fires in the summer of 2017.
According to the 2016 statistics, only 10 percent of the forest land fires were caused by natural factors such as heat or a lightning bolt while 90 percent are human-induced. The causes of 54 percent of the human induced fires were unknown, while 31 percent are negligence and 5 percent are determined as deliberate.
“All this broken glass is an invitation for fire,” said beekeeper Ahmet Yüksel, pointing at the broken bottles around the burned areas.
Floods hit cities and agricultural fields
As the General Directorate of Meteorology made a warning on Aug. 5 about a possibility of heavy rain in 12 different cities, floods have hit many cities and agricultural fields for two days.
In Antalya’s Elmalı and Korkuteli provinces, the flood damaged agricultural fields and greenhouses.
In the southwestern province of Isparta, 20 minutes of rain showers caused damage to more than 30 houses while water-trenches exploded.
In the mid-Anatolian city of Kırşehir’s Mucur province, around 130,000 bees died because of the flood. In Çorum, city life and villages were also affected by the flood.