Evacuation of 30,000 people away from the fires in Rhodes Island

On Saturday, 30,000 people were evacuated to safety from the raging fires on the Greek island of Rhodes, including 2,000 by boat.

The governor of the South Aegean region, George Hadzimarkos, told Skai TV that the operation, which was still under way, had been hampered by fires that had blocked some roads. “The aim is to protect lives,” he said.

Tourists and some residents were also taken to gyms, schools and conference centers of hotels on the island where they will spend the night while firefighters battle the blaze.

The Athens News Agency reported that three passenger ferries docked at the port of Rhodes to house some of the evacuees.

Rhodes municipality official Teres Hatzioannou said dozens of buses were used by the coast guard, armed forces and local staff to help ferry people away from the fires.

Rhodes fires (Reuters)

As the fires blocked the road, some tourists had to walk to safety.

The head of the village council of Archangelos Panayotis Demelis told Sky TV that many residents rushed to help the tourists, adding, “It is a situation that the island has not seen before.”

Rhodes fires (Reuters)

Rhodes fires (Reuters)

In the evacuation by boat from the shore, the coast guard said three of their boats commanded more than 30 private craft to pick up people from the beaches of Kiotari and Lardos in the east of the Mediterranean island.

The coast guard said a Greek navy ship had gone to the area to help.

out of control

From the moment the evacuation alert sounded in the early afternoon, tourists headed to the beach, lugging their luggage.

Video footage showed some of them pushing baby strollers under the scorching sun.

Media reports said some of them missed their flights after the fires cut off normal transport routes.

Firefighters are still trying to control the flames on the island. The deputy head of the fire department, Yannis Artopios, said that the fire that broke out in Rhodes on a mountain in the center of the island was the most severe that his teams had faced.

Rhodes fires (Reuters)

Rhodes fires (Reuters)

Five helicopters and 200 firefighters put out the fire during the day, but air support stopped after sunset.

The battle continues to extinguish the fire out of control in Rhodes in the area of ​​Lermon and Lardos.

Greek television said that some firefighters were stuck in the Ipsini Monastery near Lardos, to which they went to try to persuade the nuns to leave the area.

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