Thousands of people have been evacuated as wildfires threatened homes and hotels on the Greek island of Rhodes, The Guardian has reported.
Initial police reports spoke of nearly 19,000 people evacuated preventatively, of whom 16,000 were transported by land and 3,000 by sea.
With strong winds and the flames at points reaching five meters, the Dodecanese Islands Police Directorate said the following villages and towns were evacuated for preventative reasons: Kiotari, Gennadi, Pylonas, Laerma, Lardos, Lindos, Kalathos Malona, Asklipio, Pevkos, Massair, Haraki, and visitors at hotels in these areas.
The fires had been burning for most of the past week in the island’s mountainous interior, but strong winds, high temperatures and dry conditions swept the flames towards the coast on the island’s central-eastern side.
The fire service said more than 200 firefighters and 40 fire engines were tackling the blaze, assisted by five planes and three helicopters, as well as firefighters from Slovakia drafted in to help.
Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is currently at the National Operations and Crisis Management Coordinating Center of Civil Protection in Athens, being constantly updated about the fire on Rhodes, and about efforts to house visitors to the island who have been evacuated.
Source: The Guardian.