Gov’t to offer compensation for Antalya fire losses

The government has decided to assist residents who suffered losses in southern Antalya’s Manavgat district, which was the scene of a six-day-long blaze that destroyed thousands of hectares of land

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who paid a visit to Manavgat on Tuesday to inspect the fire-affected area, said residents of the district would be compensated for their losses as soon as possible. “The blaze in Antalya burned thousands of hectares of forestland. It damaged villages, and two people lost their lives in it. We will do our best to make up for the material losses in the area,” he said.
The blaze, which erupted in Manavgat last Thursday, was contained on Tuesday thanks to the efforts of thousands of firefighters and local villagers. It destroyed almost 9,000 hectares of land, around 4,500 of which were agricultural land. Two men, identified as Osman Kaya and Ali Deniz, died in the fire.
“We decided during a Cabinet meeting [on Monday] to reconstruct houses, sheds, schools and mosques destroyed in the area. We plan to complete these buildings by the end of this year. As the state, we cannot turn a blind eye to the grievances of our citizens. Ours is a social state. We extend a helping hand to our citizens in the event of such disasters,” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan also stated that a fire aviation fleet will be established to more effectively fight forest fires. “We have put this project in motion and have begun the process of developing our own firefighting helicopters and planes,” he said.
Locals in Antalya have also launched a campaign to reforest the fire-stricken area. Antalya Union of Chambers of Craftsmen and Artisans Chairman Orhan Tolunay told reporters yesterday that his union had called on all artisans and craftsmen in Antalya to plant at least one tree.
“It is not easy to describe the dimension of the loss in the area. Antalya has experienced one of the largest disasters in its history. Our people have been left without homes and food. We have all witnessed this tragedy,” he said.
Tolunay also said it will take an estimated 50 to 60 years for the destroyed forests to return to their previous state. “We have launched a campaign to speed up reforestation activities in the area and are calling on all artisans and craftsmen in our region to contribute to the campaign,” he added.
Forestry Directorate Deputy General Manager Mustafa Kurtulmuşlu announced yesterday that the material loss caused by the blaze had reached YTL 4 billion.
“The fire affected 9,000 hectares of land. More than 2 million trees were burned in the area, each of which costs approximately YTL 400 to replace. The government paid more than $2.5 million for seven leased firefighting helicopters. The exact amount of material loss in the blaze will become clear in the days ahead,” he said.

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