Massive wildfire forces largest-ever evacuation as tourists flee Rhodes, Greece

 Monday, July 24, 2023

The Greek island of Rhodes is facing its largest wildfire in history, forcing thousands of tourists to evacuate their hotels amid chaotic and terrifying scenes. The wildfire has been raging since Tuesday, part of a series of blazes in Greece during a prolonged heatwave. Tourists were caught off guard, some having to leave on foot or find their own transportation after being instructed to evacuate immediately.

Amy Leyden, a British tourist, shared her terrifying experience as she and her family fled, fearing for their lives. Cedric Guisset, a Belgian tourist, had to evacuate with nowhere to go, facing the challenge of limited information from the hotel. The Greek government has carried out a massive evacuation operation, relocating nearly 19,000 people, with 16,000 transported by land and 3,000 by sea.

Firefighters are focusing on three active fronts in the central and south parts of the island, while landmarks like the Lindos archaeological site have so far remained unharmed. Safe locations on the island, such as hotels, schools, and sports centers, are providing shelter for evacuees. Greece’s foreign ministry is offering assistance to tourists returning to their respective countries.

The situation has led to the cancellation of flights and holiday packages by airlines such as Jet2 and holiday group TUI. With eight people hospitalized for respiratory problems, the authorities are working tirelessly to control the devastating wildfire and protect the lives of residents and tourists alike.

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