Thousands of tourists have been evacuated on the Greek island of Rhodes due to a huge wildfire out of control. The authorities have transferred them in boats to other safe places on the island. In videos published on social networks, it is observed lines of several kilometers of tourists who, suitcases in hand, go on foot to nearby beaches to be evacuated.
Until now, more than 2,500 tourists have been evacuated with boats from the beach of Kiotari and Lardos, on the eastern coast of the island, said the spokesman for the Coast Guard, Nikos Alexíu, on private television SKAI.
Due to the fire, at least seven towns in the center and the eastern coast have had to be evacuated, since the fire has a front of at least 25 kilometers. Total at least 30,000 people have had to be displaced and, when the evacuation order was given this afternoon, about 8,000 tourists were in the area.
🇬🇷 | THE LATEST: Hundreds of people are evacuated due to the threat of an uncontrolled forest fire near Rhodes in Greece. pic.twitter.com/Rn1BMWUwcB
– UH NEWS (@UltimaHoraNo) July 22, 2023
The flames have caused damage to at least three hotels and have already reached the town of Laerma, in the center of the island, where houses have been burned, local media report.
Escaping by air is impossible as all flights from Rhodes are fully booked. While by sea the Rhodes Port Authority decided to requisition all tourist boats in the area to help in the evacuation operation, while a Navy ship has also been deployed in the area.
Residents, holiday makers, seasonal staff have evacuated hotels and homes in Kiotari and Lardos as forest fire burns out of control on the Greek island of #Rhodes. Police say around 15,000 people ordered to evacuate. pic.twitter.com/nNxHionsbm
— Daphne Tolis (@daphnetoli) July 22, 2023
Eight people with mild respiratory problems had to be treated in ambulances. According to Civil Protection, tourists are being evacuated complying with the necessary security measures and so far no injuries have been reported.
The fire has burned thousands of hectares of virgin forest and this Saturday it spread from the center of the island to the eastern coast.