Thousands of tourists evacuated from Greek island of Rhodes amidst wildfires

Thousands of tourists evacuated from Greek island of Rhodes amidst wildfires

Thousands of holidaymakers have been evacuated from the Greek island of Rhodes as wildfires swept across the region over the weekend.

Officials said that over 2,000 were rescued from beaches on the island on Saturday as fires continued to threaten homes, hotels and tourist hotspots, officials say.

Fires had been burning on the island for most of the week leading up to Saturday, however strong winds and high temperatures combined over the weekend in the island’s mountainous regions sending flames toward the central-eastern side of the island.

Officials say firefighting operations were obstructed by limited road access and a spokesperson said, “The aim is to protect a human life.”

Emergency responses are underway with passenger ferries, coastguard vessels and over 20 private boats taking part in evacuations of people stranded near Kiotari and Lardos.

Airlines are also stepping in to accommodate the host of stranded travellers, EasyJet is currently operating two repatriation flights today (Monday) as well as another on Tuesday and holiday firm, Jet2 is also sending planes to get customers off the island.

Over 200 firefighters and 40 fire engines have been involved to fight the blaze which has seen many abandoning their belongings and fleeing towards the water as extreme heat and fires spread.

It is estimated around 19,900 people have been evacuated from the blaze’s path so for in what the Ministry of Climate Change and Civil Protection said has been, “the largest evacuation from a wildfire in the country.”


Source: NBC News YouTube – Thousands forced to flee Greek Island of Rhodes as wildfire spreads

 

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