More than 1,000 tourists and local residents were evacuated by sea to the island of Rhodes on Saturday evening, far from fires burning persistently near tourist resorts in Kiotari and Lardo regions, ANA reports.
On the beaches of Kiotari and Lardo, three Hellenic Coastguard vessels, a lifeguard boat and more than 30 private sailboats were evacuating people under the direction of coastguard officials.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was chairing an emergency meeting at the National Center for the Coordination of Operations and Crisis Management, at the Civil Protection headquarters in Athens, early Saturday evening. Officials from the armed forces were present at the meeting, as well as officials from the Ministry of Tourism, among others.
The blaze had been burning since 3:10 p.m. Saturday south of Laerma in central Rhodes, where strong firefighting forces on the ground and in the air were battling the blaze. But the flames, propelled by strong winds of 7 on the Beaufort scale, fanned the fire even further south, towards Lardos.
Evacuation orders for regional hotels were issued as a precaution ahead of the rapidly spreading fire at 1:42 p.m. ordering everyone, tourists from local hotels and accommodations as well as local residents , to move away from Kiotari and Asklepion towards Gennadi.
All hotels in the Kiotari area were safely and smoothly evacuated, either on foot or with the assistance of police and military vehicles, as well as Hellenic Coast Guard and private boats.
Most of these people headed for Lardos beach, where an operation to transport them to Kalathos beach, close to a military unit there, was underway.
Some eight people were reportedly hospitalized with minor lung problems, the Emergency Ambulance Response Service (EKAV) said.
Four coastguard vessels, six Greek special forces inflatable boats and a “Blue Star” passenger ferry were all taking part in the evacuation operation, alongside six coaches and four trucks provided by the Greek armed forces, a we also indicated.
Foreign citizens in need of assistance can contact the Crisis Management Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at (+30) 210-3681730.
RELATED TOPICS: Greece, Greek tourism news, Tourism in Greece, The Greek Islands, Hotels in Greece, Trip to Greece, Greek destinations, Greek travel market, Greek tourism statistics, Greek tourism report
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