Heyva Sor launches aid campaign as 12 people are confirmed dead in fire in North Kurdistan

The fire in North Kurdistan, caused by the negligence of the Turkish authorities, has cost the lives of twelve people. Heyva Sor a Kurdistanê has launched a fundraising campaign.

Heyva Sor a Kurdistanê (Kurdish Red Crescent) has launched an aid campaign following the major fire in the provinces of Mardin (Mêrdîn) and Diyarbakir (Amed).

"Let's not leave the fire victims alone!" said the Kurdish Red Crescent organization in Troisdorf in its call for donations.

Several people died in the wildfire that broke out on Thursday evening due to a defective power line in the districts of Mazıdağı (Şemrex) and Çınar (Xana Axpar). The fire was only brought under control on Friday morning. The fire had previously eaten its way through more than a dozen hamlets and villages. According to the fire service, around a thousand hectares of agricultural land burned down, and countless animals were also burned.

Twelve dead

While Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca initially confirmed five fatalities and 44 injured, the co-mayor of Mazıdağı accused the authorities of disinformation about the extent of the disaster. Kudret Uçuk (DEM Party) said on Friday afternoon that they confirmed the death of twelve people. Among them were probably several shepherds and villagers who were burned to death while attempting to extinguish the fire.

"The people from the villages tried to prevent the fire from spreading using their own means, risking their lives. We called for firefighting helicopters, fire departments and ambulances several times until the morning. Apart from our own local authorities, and our own people, no one responded. We received no response to our inquiries," said mayor Uçuk.

There were at least ten seriously injured people with life-threatening burns. The civil protection services only arrived after the fire had spread over a huge area, said Uçuk, adding: "Everything happened with our eyes wide open: the outbreak of the fire, its spread, the deaths... The fact that the state mechanisms did not respond to our requests and did not intervene increased the scale of the disaster."

Heyva Sor a Kurdistanê called for support: "Until the last moment, the villagers tried to extinguish the fire with their own limited resources. However, the negligence of the Turkish state institutions has led to a multitude of problems. As with all previous disasters, we have taken immediate action to help those affected. We would therefore like to ask everyone to support the fire victims with donations in order to meet their needs as quickly as possible."