Victoria Media – Further Edition

Greece fires: Thousands flee homes and hotels on Rhodes as fires spread

2 min read

Blue Star Ferries with its vessel ‘Blue Star 2’, provided the free transportation of 26 firemen and 9 fire trucks from Piraeus and Kos in support to the efforts of the Fire Fighting forces in extinguishing the fire that broke out in Rhodes on 19th July 2023.

More than 1,000 tourists and local residents were being evacuated by sea at the island of Rhodes on Saturday evening, away from the fires that burn persistently near tourist resorts at the Kiotari and Lardo areas.

At the beaches in both Kiotari and Lardo, three Hellenic Coast Guard vessels, a lifeguard boat and more than 30 private sailboats were evacuating people under the guidance of coast guard officials.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was chairing an emergency meeting at the National Coordination Center for Operations & Crisis Management, at the civil protection headquarters in Athens, early Saturday evening. Armed forces officials were attending the meeting, as were Tourism Ministry officials, among others.

The fire was burning since 15:10 on Saturday south of Laerma in central Rhodes, where strong firefighting forces on the ground, and by air, were battling the blaze. But the flames, propelled by high winds registering 7 on the Beaufort scale, fanned the fire yet further south towards Lardos.

Evacuation orders for regional hotels had been issued as a precaution ahead of the fast-moving fire, at 13:42, instructing everyone, tourists at local hotels and accommodation as well as local residents, to move away from Kiotari and Asklepion towards Gennadi.

All hotels in the Kiotari area were evacuated safely and without issues, either on foot or aided by police and army vehicles, and also by the Hellenic Coast Guard vessels and the private boats.

Most of those people headed to Lardos beach, where an operation to transport them to Kalathos beach, near an army unit located there, was underway.

Some 8 people were reportedly hospitalized with minor pulmonary issues, said the Emergency Ambulance Response Service (EKAV).

Four coast guard vessels, 6 Greek Special Forces inflatables, and a passenger ‘Blue Star’ ferry were all assisting the evacuation operation, alongside 6 coaches and 4 trucks provided by the Greek armed forces, it was also reported.

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