Greece’s Prime Minister warned the country is “at war” as wildfires stoked by near-record heatwaves ravage the holiday islands of Rhode and Crete.
Greece Under Fire
Nineteen thousand people have been evacuated from Rhodes in Greece’s largest ever evacuation because of the wildfires that have been burning on the island for the last six days.
Those brought to safety came from 12 villages and several hotels. No casualties have yet been reported, although people are being hospitalized with respiratory problems.
Wildfires are also raging on the island of Corfu, where evacuations are underway.
Citizens and Vacationers Being Evacuated
Around 2,500 people have already been evacuated from Corfu, fire officials said, experiencing dozens of wildfires, after the blaze in Rhodes prompted “the biggest evacuation” in Greek history.
Footage showed flames engulfing Corfu as smoke and orange haze covered the night skies. The fire broke out on the island’s northern part, popular with British tourists.
Those in Santa, Megoula, Porta, Palia Perithia, and Sinies were told to evacuate to Kasiopi.
Largest Evacuation By Greece Government
The government called the operation “the largest such effort Greece has ever seen,” and said 16,000 people, including tourists and residents, were transported by land and 3,000 by sea.
According to the local fire service, there are currently three active fronts firefighters are focusing on in the central and southern parts of the island.
Greece’s foreign ministry will set up a dedicated helpdesk to assist tourists on their return to their respective countries, according to the Greek government. Tour operators have additionally ordered charter flights to land in Rhodes without passengers “in order to pick up travelers who wish to leave the island,” it said.
The British government has deployed a team of Foreign Office officials and British Red Cross responders to Rhodes to help evacuate UK nationals from the island, British Foreign Minister James Cleverley said in a Tweet posted Monday.
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