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Forest fires on the island of Rhodes cause mass evacuations

Forest fires on the island of Rhodes cause mass evacuations

More than 250 firefighters are fighting, for the sixth consecutive day, against a devastating wildfire on the resort island of Rhodes, firefighters said Sunday evening, and that authorities remain on alert to protect residents.

” the conditions [météorologiques] Stay extreme […] Firefighters spokesman Vassilis Vatrakogiannis warned, during a press conference at the end of the day, when the mercury rose to more than 46 degrees Celsius in the southwest.

“All civil protection forces are still on high alert,” he added, the day after housing about 30,000 residents and tourists.

Greece, a Mediterranean country, is used to heat waves.

According to the National Meteorological Service EMY, temperatures are expected to remain above 40°C with 41°C to 42°C expected in the Peloponnese and in the center of the country on Monday.

” today [dimanche]The spokesman added that there were 64 new fires across the country.

On Euboea, an island just a hundred kilometers from Athens that was devastated by devastating fires during the summer of 2021, many residential areas had to be evacuated due to the fires.

He explained that the fire that mobilized the largest number of firefighters is still the Rhodes Island fire, without indicating whether the fire had spread during the day or when the firefighters planned to contain the fire.

Strong winds of up to 50 km/h are still blowing on this island from the Dodecanese archipelago, with temperatures of 46.4°C recorded in Gythio, on the Peloponnese Peninsula (southwest), according to the National Observatory of Athens.

Historic evacuation

About 270 firefighters were deployed to the southeast of the island, where the blaze prompted a mass evacuation on Saturday, including many tourists staying in hotels on the coast.

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At least 10 Canadians and 8 helicopters are working in this area, as well as 49 fire engines, according to another spokesman for the fire department, Yiannis Artobios.

This is the largest eviction ever carried out in Greece […] Everything worked fine. Firefighters spokeswoman Constantia Demogledo said earlier that everyone, especially the tourists, followed what we asked.

Hundreds of tourists waited Sunday at Rhodes International Airport, located in the northwest of the island, in search of a return flight.

AFP found that in the departure lounge, some were lying or even sleeping on the floor, in the middle of baggage, while others were checking the flight display board.

Twelve localities were evacuated, including Lindos, one of the island’s main tourist attractions with its acropolis perched on a hill.

Cedric Jesse, a Belgian tourist who was in hiding on Saturday, explained to RTBF radio that he had to leave his hotel on foot without a planned drop-off point after receiving alert messages on his mobile phone.

At the hotel, “They didn’t know, we took our ID cards, water, something to cover our faces, our heads,” he said.

People who had to leave their homes or hotels were housed in gymnasiums, schools or convention centers.

In the center of the country and on the Peloponnese peninsula, temperatures between 45°C and 46.4°C were recorded in the afternoon, according to the National Observatory of Athens.

According to the National Meteorological Observatory on Saturday, this country is “probably” going through the longest heat wave in its history.

Rhodes, with a population of over 100,000, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece, with British, German and French tourists.

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Rhodes recorded 2.5 million tourist arrivals last year.

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