Runaway fires in Rhodes devastated by fires that have ravaged the island in the past six days. Strong winds forecast for today could hamper firefighters’ efforts to put out the fires on the Greek island, where about 30,000 people have been evacuated. Greece has been hit by a record long hot spell that has made it difficult to contain the blazes.
Local officials in Rhodes yesterday said they had rescued 30,000 people threatened by the fires, including more than 2,500 who had to be rescued on the beaches.
During the night, the fires reached the village of Laerma, where they burned down houses and a church, while many hotels were damaged by the flames, sometimes reaching the sea. Authorities have warned that the fight to contain the blazes, which rages on Rhodes during the peak tourist season, will last several days.
The “largest evacuation operation” of all time in Greece takes place on Rhodes. The spokesman for the fire brigade said that ten planes, eight helicopters, 266 firefighters, 49 trucks and hundreds of volunteers are currently involved in the firefighting operations. 31 firefighters also traveled with four trucks from Slovakia and two planes each from France and Turkey.
FARNESINA RECOMMENDS ALTERNATIVE DESTINATION
Since yesterday, the Foreign Ministry’s crisis management team and the embassy in Athens have been in close contact with the Greek authorities, civil protection and the compatriots present in Rhodes. The Greek Civil Protection has set up reception and assembly centers and facilitates transport to Rhodes airport and available ports to allow embarkation to further destinations. However, the town of Lindos, which was initially feared with the possibility of fire and where many Italians are staying, is currently safe.
In general, traffic on the island is quite congested. For those planning a departure for Rhodes, it is advisable to consider an alternative destination nearby and in any case to take transport difficulties into account, the Farnesina advises in a statement.
Many tourists currently present on the island are Alpitour customers. The company is taking steps to prevent multi-flight returns. Customers can contact the dedicated Alpitour support number +39-011-19682471. To all compatriots staying in Rhodes for any reason, we recommend registering on the website www.dovesiamonelmondo.it and downloading the “Crisis Unit” app, free and available for all mobile phones. This will make it easier to receive all communications from the crisis team.
In view of the “out of control” fires on the Greek island of Rhodes, “Fiavet took action with its authorities early in the morning to find out how many Italians – from our circle – are staying in Rhodes”. This was communicated to Adnkronos by the President of the Italian Federation of Travel and Tourism Business Associations, Giuseppe Cinnisi, explaining that the national Fiavet – as a matter of practice – consults the presidents of the regional Fiavet in critical cases in order to get a detailed picture. And the machine “is already active” in order to be able to “give support” to our compatriots who may get into trouble.