Friday, September 29, 2023
HomeGlobalA fire on the island of Rhodes forces the evacuation of 30,000...

A fire on the island of Rhodes forces the evacuation of 30,000 residents and tourists

The paradise burns. The legendary Greek island of Rhodes, the largest and most touristy in the Dodecanese archipelago, is facing an uncontrolled fire that has forced the evacuation of 30,000 people. This is the largest evacuation carried out in the country as a result of a forest fire. In less than 24 hours, some 19,000 tourists and residents of twelve towns have been transferred to the north of Rhodes, to safe places far from the flames, but equally hot, since the island is experiencing its second wave of extreme heat in a week.

The evictions have continued this Sunday morning in a constant trickle as the fire approached homes, hotels and recreational areas. At least 3,000 affected have left the danger area by sea due to the risks involved in entering the interior roads, in which a compact forest with enormous amounts of biomass has become a torch.

At noon this Sunday, an administrative office was installed at the Rhodes airport to try to redo the documentation that thousands of tourists have lost in the sudden exodus of the last twenty-four hours. Tour operators have also asked several airlines to send empty charter flights for those visitors who want to leave Rhodes. The forecast is that the hotels in the areas at risk will remain closed until the Government considers the fire controlled, three of whose fronts remain uncontrolled.

Hundreds of tourists remain sheltered in a sports hall in Rhodes.


A fire on the island of Rhodes forces the evacuation of 30,000 residents and tourists

A spokesman for the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, explained that most of the evicted have been transferred to makeshift shelters in gyms, sports centers and schools. Numerous neighbors from the north have also offered their private homes. The enclaves that have been evacuated are those of Kiotari, Gennadi, Pylonas, Laerma, Lardos, Lindos, Kalathos Malona, ​​Asklipieio, Pefkos, Massari and Haraki. In the first of them, several houses appeared this morning destroyed or affected by fire. “We’ve been seeing the fire on the ridge for days now, but we didn’t want to believe it. He finally got here, explains a resident of this settlement to a Hellenic newspaper. “Fifty families have lived in this neighborhood since 1990 and in three hours the fire crossed it from end to end,” he adds.

The evacuation has taken place “without incident”, according to the firefighters, and this past morning it reached a climax when 2,000 tourists cornered on two beaches in Rhodes due to the threat of fire were taken aboard several ships of the Greek army and the coast guard service, as well as about thirty private sailboats that joined the rescue efforts. However, some situations have been dramatic, as families have had to escape on foot amid the smoke and ash carried by the wind and under the rigors of temperatures that never drop below 40 degrees. Many visitors have been forced to leave their belongings in hotels.

A group of tourists is evacuated by sea from a beach.


A fire on the island of Rhodes forces the evacuation of 30,000 residents and tourists

According to official sources, nine people have had to be assisted due to smoke inhalation and there are two tourists admitted to hospitals: a young pregnant woman who, as a precaution, is under medical surveillance and another woman who suffered a fracture while leaving her hotel.

The emergency services assure that the situation on the island is very complex. Added to the density of the forest is the extreme dryness after a week of heat wave, high temperatures and a rising wind, which this afternoon will reach 60 kilometers per hour. In fact, Greece has barely experienced a day of respite after the phenomenon of suffocation developed since last Tuesday on account of an African anticyclone.

A woman walks through the smoke near Lindos, devastated after the passage of the fire.


A fire on the island of Rhodes forces the evacuation of 30,000 residents and tourists

The mercury rose again this Saturday and for tomorrow, Monday, it is expected that in some parts of the country it will touch 48 degrees Celsius. A total of 8.7 million Greeks will be subject this Sunday to temperatures above 41 degrees Celsius.

The same happens in Italy, where the south could reach 48 degrees in the next few hours, and even exceed the 48.8 registered in Sicily last year and which remains the highest temperature reached in Europe since records have been kept. The Health Ministry has imposed a state of emergency for heat in 19 cities, including Rome, Naples and Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia, which is suffering from an unusually prolonged wave of muggy weather. Meteorologists believe that this month of July may be the warmest on the planet since records began in 1850.

Recent posts