July 23 () –
Greek authorities have issued evacuation orders for the districts of Santa, Megoula, Porta, Palia Perithia and Sinies, on the Greek island of Corfu, after tens of thousands of evacuations on the island of Rhodes.
“Attention Corfu, Kerkyra (Greek name of the island). If you are in Santa, Megoula, Porta, Palia Perithia and Sinies, you have to evacuate in the direction of Kasiopi. Fires in the area. Follow the instructions of the authorities,” reported the Greek emergency service 112.
To this must be added the 30,000 people who have had to be evacuated from the island of Rhodes since the declaration six days ago of a huge fire with multiple sources, of which at least three are still out of control.
The evacuation process has accelerated over the past 24 hours to become the largest forest fire extraction operation in the country’s recent history, with the transfer of 19,000 residents and tourists to safety since Saturday alone, the office of the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, announced this morning.
They are mostly residents and tourists from twelve towns on the island, who have ended up transferred to the north of Rhodes, in gyms, schools, on board ferries, and in private homes.
Last night, 2,000 tourists left the island in various boats from two beaches on the island, according to the spokesman for the Fire Service Yannis Artopios. The operation, which has taken place “without incident”, he explained to the Greek newspaper ‘Kathimerini’, has had the assistance of three Coast Guard boats, boats from the Greek Army Special Forces and 30 private boats.
The high temperatures and the constant changes in the wind are making the work of the 266 firefighters, 16 Infantry units, 49 vehicles and seven planes that are fighting the flames difficult. The fire has forced the entire evacuation of twelve towns such as Lindos — where its historic Acropolis is located — Kalathos or Pefka. Other areas such as Kiotari or Gennari have also started this process in the last few hours.
Speaking earlier to SKAI, another Fire Department representative, Vasilis Vathrakogiannis, has explained that the Rhodes fire is hugely complex as there are many outbreaks scattered around its perimeter, which is consuming mainly the center and east of the island. The main front is a triangle ten kilometers on each side that stretches from the sea to the mountains.
Vathrakogiannis has anticipated that the containment efforts will take days to take effect, especially since temperatures will continue to exceed 30ºC throughout the coming week.