German tourist on Rhodes fire: "The Greeks supported us and provided us with everything"

Rhodes fire july 2023

German tour operators have been focusing on the return of tourists to Germany from Rhodes.

The German Association of Travel Agencies DRV announced on Monday: “The tour operators started yesterday and will complete on Wednesday numerous special flights for the repatriation of tourists.

Some tourists even return on regular flights, while others were transported by ship to Athens or Turkey to return to Germany."

The largest European tour operator TUI announced that it operated six additional special flights to return tourists to Greece and the United Kingdom yesterday. The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Federal Police are contributing to the efforts for the rapid departure of German tourists, a spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior announced yesterday.

In the afternoon, a meeting of the German government's crisis management team is scheduled in Berlin to assess the repatriation operation.

"We left passports and money at the hotel"

At the time when German tourists are leaving Hanover airport for the northern part of Rhodes with obvious concern but also the hope that everything will be fine, flights are landing with vacationers who go the southern part of the island from one moment to the next.

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In a North German Radio NDR report, German tourists spoke as soon as they got off the plane about "hell on earth": "They came and took us from the pool. That's why we don't wear regular clothes," says Damian Fogel.

His wife, Simone, added: "We have neither money nor passports; we had to leave everything at the hotel."

Daniela Schultz said: “We could see huge clouds of smoke. The atmosphere was stifling. We were afraid we wouldn't be able to breathe."

Another German, Christian Lindstedt, stated: "It was tough. We hardly slept at all. They took us to a school. But I admit the Greeks supported us and supplied us with water, food, everything."

Tourists, however, are safe, the news agencies report because they were already taken to secure places in the northern part of the island since Saturday. According to estimates, around 9,500 people were still accommodated in gymnasiums, schools or local homes.

Over the weekend, 30,000 people were transported to safety by bus, ferry, and on foot. According to a statement from the German tourism giant, the tour operator TUI alone had approximately 39,000 tourists in Rhodes, with 7,800 directly affected by the devastating fires.

READ MORE: Michael Gove: "I'm going on holiday to Evia, I'm not worried about the fires," says British housing minister.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024