Greece, fires still out of control in Rhodes. 30,000 people evacuated

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The fires that have been ravaging the Greek island of Rhodes for days are still out of control. Thousands of people have been evacuated from homes and hotels, also being helped to escape the flames by private boats, which have joined the Greek coastguard to help pull people off the beaches to the east of the island. Rhodes officials announced yesterday that they had rescued 30,000 people threatened by the fires, of whom 2,000 had to be transported off the beaches by ship, particularly from Kiotari and Lardos, east of the Mediterranean island. Meanwhile, the work of the firefighters continues, engaged in the front line against high temperatures and strong winds. According to the weather report, today in continental areas temperatures should exceed 40 degrees: 43 degrees in the center of the country, 44 in the Peloponnese and 45 in the region of Thessaly. Last night the areas of Massari, Malonas and Haraki were evacuated.

The operations

Today at dawn five helicopters, two of which from the air force, and three planes began to drop water, while the arrival of a fire brigade aircraft from the Czech Republic and two from Turkey is expected during the day. Currently, over 200 firefighters with 39 vehicles are busy facing the flames, while new reinforcements arrived in Rhodes last night with two C-130s that took off from Elefsina. Meanwhile, videos of the fire that hit Kiotari are circulating on the net. The situation is dramatic, writes the newspaper To Vima: residents try to help put out the flames with fire extinguishers.

Fleeing tourists

George Hadjimarkos, regional governor of the South Aegean, said on television yesterday Skai that the operation was hampered by the fires that blocked some road accesses. “The goal is to protect human life,” she said. The tourists and some locals were taken to gymnasiums, schools and hotel convention centers on the island where they spent the night. An official of the municipality of Rhodes, Teris Hatziioannou, specified that members of the coast guard, the armed forces and local authorities intervened in the rescue operations and used dozens of buses to transport people away from the fires.

There would be no injuries

Greece’s deputy fire chief said the fires in Rhodes were the largest his service was currently dealing with, although no injuries were reported, according to the Civil Defense and Climate Crisis Ministry, which said it said. added that tourists are being safely evacuated from affected areas, which account for less than 10% of “total tourism capacity”, and are being redirected to other hotels on the island. According to Ert TV, yesterday some firefighters were stuck in the Ypseni monastery near Lardos after trying to convince the nuns who lived there to leave the area.