• Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

Thousands of people have been evacuated from Greece due to wildfires

Thousands of people have been evacuated from Greece due to wildfires

The fire has spread to the north of the island, but no hotels or homes have yet been destroyed.

Athens:

Authorities evacuated around 2,500 people from the Greek island of Corfu on Monday as several wildfires raged across heat-ravaged Greece.

Tens of thousands of people have already fled the blaze on the island of Rhodes, with many terrified tourists scrambling to get home.

A fire service spokesman said 2,400 visitors and locals were evacuated from Corfu between Sunday and Monday, saying the departures were precautionary.

Greece is sweltering in extreme heat, which has increased the risk of wildfires and stranded visitors during the tourist season.

Kelly Squirrel, a transport administrator from the UK, said police had ordered people to evacuate her hotel in Rhodes.

“We have to keep walking,” she told AFP at the international airport. “So we walked in the heat for about six hours.”

Rhodes is one of Greece’s leading holiday destinations, with 2.5 million visitors expected in 2022.

Greek television broadcast images of long lines of people dressed in beachwear lining the island’s roads on Saturday, when evacuations were ordered.

– Expect more intense heat –

As many as 30,000 people fled the flames in Rhodes over the weekend, the nation’s largest wildfire evacuation ever.

Authorities have evacuated 16,000 people by land and 3,000 by sea, police said. Others had to flee by road or use their own vehicles after being told to leave the area.

“We had to borrow my wife’s clothes because there was nothing for a woman to wear,” Kevin Sales, an engineer from England, told AFP. “It was terrible.”

Tourists and some locals spent the night at the island’s gyms, schools and hotel conference centers.

Several travel companies have suspended their inbound tourist flights to Rhodes, but are helping repatriate foreigners.

Crews have been battling blazes in parts of Greece for a week, and since early Monday firefighters have been using aircraft to battle the blaze in Rhodes.

Many parts of the country were at risk of wildfires on Monday, according to authorities, but fire officials told AFP that no cities were directly hit by the fire on Sunday night.

Like every summer, Greece is plagued by wildfires, often deadly, that destroy tens of thousands of hectares of forest and vegetation.

This summer, the country experienced one of the longest heatwaves in recent years, with temperatures reaching 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) over the weekend, according to experts.

On Monday, a slight drop was expected in Athens with temperatures expected to reach 37 degrees Celsius, but temperatures are expected to rise again on Tuesday.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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