Tens of thousands of people have fled the Greek island of Rhodes after a massive wildfire. As tourists scrambled to return home, wildfires were also reported on another popular Greek island, Corfu. Land and sea evacuations are underway as firefighters bring the wildfire under control in Rhodes. The fires occur during the peak tourism season, prompting the nation’s largest wildfire evacuation ever.
Rhodes is one of them Greeces most popular holiday destinations, especially for British, German and French tourists. Here are the best updates on the wildfires in Greece:
- Other Greek islands are reporting similar problems. The wildfires broke out on Evia, Greece’s second largest island, located off the east coast of central Greece.
- Corfu, another Greek island popular with foreign tourists, was fighting its own wildfire.
- Rescue operations are underway at Nissaki Beach in the island’s northeast, with six coastguard vessels and seven private boats already taking 59 people off the beach, AFP reported.
- Greece witnessed extreme heat and fires burned for about a week on the road, where winds of up to 49 kilometers per hour (31 mph) made efforts to contain the fire difficult.
- “This is the biggest fire evacuation ever in Greece. We had to evacuate 30,000 people,” Greek police spokeswoman Constantia Dimoglidou told AFP.
- Authorities have evacuated 16,000 people by land and 3,000 by sea, police said. Others had to flee by road.
- German travel giant Tui suspended all inbound passenger flights to Rhodes but said it would send empty planes to help evacuate tourists.
- British airline Jet2 said it had canceled “all flights and holidays” to the island.
- Officials warned that it could take days to put out the blaze as more than 260 firefighters battled the blaze. Croatia, Franceand Slovakia Turkey Assists the process.
- The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and embassies in Greece have set up a station at Rhodes airport to assist tourists.