Thousands of tourists fled the island of Rhodes in panic

A fire has been raging on the island of Rhodes since the beginning of the week. STRINGER/REUTERS

As the fire has advanced up the coast and has already affected several hotels, holidaymakers are taking shelter on beaches while they wait for boats to come and rescue them.

Masked tourists, suitcases in hand, walk the streets under smoke-obscured skies: A violent fire that ravaged the Greek island of Rhodes forced thousands of vacationers to evacuate hotels and villas this Saturday, July 22. The fires, which broke out on Tuesday afternoon as Greece grapples with an exceptionally severe heat wave, are now out of control and are advancing towards the coastal towns of Kyotari and Lardos in the east of the island.

More than two dozen boats participated in the evacuation operation coordinated by the Coast Guard this Saturday. Public television ERT reports. A Greek naval vessel is also heading towards the island. About 2,000 people were evacuated by boat, and another 30,000 – tourists and residents – left the threatened areas to spend the night in gymnasiums and schools, according to local officials.

Historic heat wave in Greece

Videos shared on social media showed groups of tourists gathered on beaches, waiting for instructions. “We’re stuck here with no help and it’s disgusting“, questioned an angry British tourist By the BBC. on TwitterAnother tourist says he had to walk several kilometers.In the smoke and dust with a five-year-old“.

Twenty boats were mobilized on Saturday to evacuate the tourists. STRINGER/REUTERS

According to ERT, firefighters were stopped at Yapseni’s monastery after trying to convince the nuns who were there to leave the place.

Deputy fire chief Yannis Artapoios said the fire, which started on a hill in the center of the island, was the toughest Rhodes firefighters had faced. Five helicopters and 173 firefighters are working to douse the fire. Three hotels in the Kiotari sector were damaged and houses and a church were destroyed in Lerma, in the interior of the island.

This fire lives Greece”Probablyยป The longest heat wave ever recorded in its history, according to Costas Lagovartos, director of research at the National Meteorological Service. This weekend, the country is expecting temperatures above 44 degrees Celsius. Kostas Lagovartos notes that weather forecasting is based on16-17 day heat wave, which is unprecedented in our countryFirefighters reported 46 new fires in the country in 24 hours.

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