Rhodes Wildfire: The largest fire evacuation in Greek history - 19,000 people taken to safety

Rhodes fires

Under particularly difficult conditions, the precautionary evacuation of the settlements threatened by the large fire in Rhodes was completed during the night.

The operation was carried out under adverse conditions, with strong winds. In many places the flames exceeded five metres in height.

According to the first estimates by the police, there was a precautionary evacuation of about 19,000 people. Sixteen thousand people were transported by land and 3,000 by sea. This is the largest operation of this kind of residents and tourists that has ever taken place in the country.

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The Dodecanese Police Department announced that the settlements of Kiotari, Gennadi, Pylonas, Laerma, Lardos, Lindos, Kalathos Malona, ​​Asklipieio, Pefkos, Massari and Haraki were evacuated, as well as the hotels in these areas.

Many elderly people, but also people with special needs, were transported with official police vehicles. However, the bulk of citizens were transported by tour buses, Coast Guard vessels, and privately owned vessels commissioned by the Coast Guard.

In total, according to ambulance services and the Ministry of Health of the Aegean Region, there were nine people with respiratory problems who were given immediate first aid at medical clinics but were released immediately after.

Two people have stayed in hospital. One suffered a fracture from a fall while evacuating a hotel. The second is a 31-year-old pregnant woman, who is in the maternity clinic and who is in good health and being monitored.

For the areas affected by the fire, an order has been given by the tour operators that the charter flights arrive empty in order to pick up those visitors who want to leave the island. A hot spot has been set up by the Foreign Affairs Ministry at Rhodes airport so that there is a rapid processing of travel documents.

Attempt to save the Asklipieio settlement

Early in the morning, a government meeting was held with the Region of the South Aegean and the representatives of the agencies.

According to the on-site records of the Fire Department in the village Laermathere were no disasters, only some limited damage around the perimeter of the settlement in abandoned buildings, while a great effort is being made to save the Asklipieio settlement as well.

Three more aircraft (a Canadair and two Air Tractors) will assist the firefighting effort. A total of 15 firefighting aircraft and helicopters and 2 coordination aerial vehicles operate on the island.

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