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Wildfires Force Largest Evacuation in Rhodes, Greece: Around 19,000 Flee as Blazes Continue to Rage

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Wildfires Force Largest Evacuation in Rhodes, Greece

The Greek island of Rhodes is facing an unprecedented crisis as wildfires continue to spread. Wildfires Force Largest Evacuation in Rhodes, Greece, around 19,000 people for the sixth consecutive day. The Ministry of Climate Change and Civil Protection has declared it the largest wildfire evacuation in the country’s history. Tourists, locals, and hotel owners are grappling with the intensity of the situation, with the fire inching closer to hotels and villages, leaving authorities overwhelmed. Amidst the chaos, firefighting efforts are in full swing, but the battle against the flames is proving challenging. This article delves into the evolving situation, the impact on residents and tourists, and the efforts to combat the inferno.

Wildfires Force Largest Evacuation in Rhodes, Greece: Around 19,000 Flee

Wildfires Force Largest Evacuation in Rhodes and Impact on Tourists:

As the wildfire spread on multiple fronts, local authorities launched an emergency evacuation operation, leading to the evacuation of approximately 19,000 people. Among the evacuees, 3,000 were rescued by sea, while the rest were moved to safety via land. This mass evacuation was a swift response to the escalating threat posed by the fire to the island’s residents and visitors alike.

British tourist Kevin Evans shared his harrowing experience of being evacuated twice in a single day with his family. They were first moved from Kiotari to Gennadi and later had to evacuate to the island’s capital as the flames closed in. The scene at the evacuation sites was marked by panic, with many tourists leaving behind their belongings as they were hastily directed to safety.

Impact on Hotels and Tourism Industry:

The wildfires have taken a severe toll on the tourism industry in Rhodes, with package holiday companies like TUI and Jet2 canceling all flights to the island until at least Tuesday. Hotels in the affected areas have been abandoned, but Stelios Kotiadis, a Rhodes travel agent, assures that they are in better condition than portrayed on social media and could reopen soon if authorized by Civil Protection.

Wildfires Force Largest Evacuation in Rhodes, Greece: Around 19,000 Flee

Efforts to Combat the Blazes:

More than 250 firefighters, backed by numerous volunteers and firefighting aircraft, are battling the raging inferno on the ground. The European Union has also provided substantial reinforcements, with over 450 firefighters and seven airplanes actively supporting Greece’s firefighting efforts. Nevertheless, the unpredictable winds in Rhodes pose a significant challenge to containing the fire and safeguarding nearby forests.

Evacuation and Relief Measures:

As evacuations continue, displaced individuals, including tourists, are being accommodated in various hotels, gyms, and a conference center. In a remarkable gesture, a shipping company has offered one of its ships as temporary accommodation. Travel agents have organized transportation for evacuated tourists, although it has been a tight squeeze with crowded buses.

Fires in Other Regions:

While Rhodes battles the most severe fires, other parts of Greece are also grappling with outbreaks. Evia, the country’s second-largest island, has experienced a serious fire, prompting the evacuation of residents from four southern villages.

Wildfires Force Largest Evacuation in Rhodes, Greece: Around 19,000 Flee

Weather Conditions and Warnings:

The wildfires have coincided with extremely hot weather in Greece, with temperatures reaching as high as 113 degrees Fahrenheit in certain regions. The Greek mainland, as well as Rhodes and Evia, have been designated as the highest level of fire risk. Meteorologists predict a brief respite from the heat before another heatwave strikes starting Tuesday.

Conclusion:

As wildfires continue to devastate Rhodes, thousands of people have been evacuated, leaving behind abandoned hotels and scorched landscapes. The island’s firefighting efforts, supported by international aid, continue to battle the flames amid challenging weather conditions. While tourism has taken a severe hit, the resilience and coordination among authorities, locals, and travel agents offer hope for the eventual restoration of Rhodes as a vibrant tourist destination. As Greece braves this catastrophe, solidarity from the global community remains essential to overcome the challenges posed by this relentless blaze.

Ralated Post:

FAQs

1. What is the current situation in Rhodes, Greece? As of now, wildfires have been raging on the Greek island of Rhodes for six days on three different fronts. The situation has led to the evacuation of around 19,000 people, making it the largest wildfire evacuation in the country’s history.

2. How many people have been evacuated and how were they moved to safety? Approximately 19,000 people have been evacuated from Rhodes. Among them, 16,000 were evacuated by land, while 3,000 were rescued via sea. The evacuation included residents from 12 villages and several hotels.

3. Are there any casualties or injuries reported due to the wildfires? So far, there have been six reported cases of injuries. Six people were briefly treated at a hospital for respiratory problems, one person broke a leg during a hotel evacuation, and a pregnant woman is hospitalized. Fortunately, the latter is in good condition.

4. How have the wildfires affected tourism in Rhodes? The wildfires have had a significant impact on the tourism industry in Rhodes. Package holiday companies like TUI and Jet2 have canceled all flights to the island until at least Tuesday. Hotels in the affected areas have been abandoned, causing further disruption to tourism.

5. What efforts are being made to combat the wildfires? More than 250 firefighters, along with hundreds of volunteers, are actively working on the ground to battle the blazes. Additionally, ten firefighting planes and eight helicopters are being used to fight the fires from the air. The European Union has also provided substantial reinforcements, with over 450 firefighters and seven airplanes supporting the efforts.

6. How are displaced individuals, including tourists, being accommodated? Those who have been evacuated, including tourists, are being accommodated in various hotels, gyms, and a conference center. An extraordinary gesture from a shipping company has led to the offering of one of its ships as temporary accommodation.

7. Are there any other regions in Greece facing wildfires? Yes, apart from Rhodes, other parts of Greece are also dealing with wildfires. Evia, the country’s second-largest island, has faced a serious fire, prompting the evacuation of residents from four southern villages.

8. What are the weather conditions like in Greece amid the wildfires? Greece is currently experiencing extremely hot weather, with temperatures reaching as high as 113 degrees Fahrenheit in certain regions. The mainland, along with Rhodes and Evia, has been designated at the highest level of fire risk.

9. Are there any predictions for the weather in the coming days? Meteorologists have warned of a relative respite from the heat, with highs of 100 degrees Fahrenheit forecasted for one day. However, another heatwave is expected to start on Tuesday and last until at least Friday.

10. How can international support and solidarity be provided to help Greece? In this challenging time, international support and solidarity are crucial. Greece can benefit from further aid in firefighting efforts, relief measures for the displaced, and resources to rebuild affected areas. Additionally, support for tourism recovery can also play a vital role in restoring the island’s economy

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