Carrying children on their arms and dragging their suitcases in a suffocating atmosphere and the flames behind them, tourists and locals on the island of Rhodes walked to a safer place after they were ordered to evacuate on Saturday afternoon.
Chaotic scenes unfolded as the evacuees had to abandon the area as soon as possible but could not leave the area of Kiotari and Lardos with other means than on foot.
Impressionnantes images d’évacuations à Rhodes, où des centaines de personnes sont contraintes de marcher sur les routes pour s’éloigner des feux.
Hors de contrôle, les incendies ravagent l’île grecque depuis trois jours. pic.twitter.com/VM6LMczmzX
— Alexandros Kottis (@alexandros_kts) July 22, 2023
They did not know where to go to, while others were supposed to leave their hotels to return home. Some complained to UK media, that they had no information and were stranded.
They had to walk to a certain area at the beaches where private boats had to transfer them to safety. A woman said that she had to walk for 2 hours.
Jet2 where are you? No help, contact or guidance. Had to walk 4 mile in the heat across dirt tracks in smoke and ash with a 5 year old. No possessions #jet2 #rhodes #lindosimperial pic.twitter.com/iWBHtFUoYi
— Jon Hughes (@hughesy_1985) July 22, 2023
Lots of them, uploaded videos on social media, complaining about walking without guidance, whatsoever.
i’m in rhodes. we’ve had an emergency evacuation alarm 3 times today. the last wild fire is a mile away. people are piling in after walking for 10 miles. we might need to evacuate the hotel pic.twitter.com/jP1eMIim9b
— laura (@laura29webster) July 22, 2023
— David Woodhouse (@DavidWo49864123) July 22, 2023
Locals told ANT1 TV that there people trapped at beaches or in plain areas. A Municipality councilor added that there were lots of volunteers at work but “the state is absent.”
Skai Tv reported that some 8,000 tourists have been evacuated from the area.
The Coast Guard is not only evacuating people by sea in Lardos, it also coordinates a huge evacuation operation as it has ordered private boats such as daily touristic boats incl inflatable boats to participate in the operation.
According to local newspaper dimokratiki.gr , over 25 boats are currently active, while the Navy plans to deploy a fast ship.
Video: A firefighter shouts at the driver to stop to pickup some tourists
So far, 1,500 people have been evacuated and have been transported to Kalythies, to the indoor basketball court of Kolossos, on Rhodes.
The local ambulance service EKAV has reported 8 transports of people with minor respiratory problems.
State broadcaster ERT said earlier it was children and elderly from the hotels.
According to a first estimation by local police, 15,000 people have been evacuated.
The forest fire on Rhodes broke out on Tuesday and has been raging ever since.
The situation took a dramatic turn on Saturday when blowing winds fane the blaze out of control and burned also three hotels.
PS I have no diea why tourists complain because if you watch reports on Greek TV channels or read websites “the evacuation is perfectly organized”…