Greece fires latest: Corfu evacuations begin as Rhodes tourists fleeing wildfire spend second night in airport

Forest fires in Greece: Rhodes tourists sleep on airport floor awaiting evacuation

About 2,500 people were evacuated from Corfu, the Greek Fire Service said, as dozens of wildfires broke out on the island after a fire in Rhodes sparked “the largest evacuation in Greek history”.

Videos on social media show flames engulfing Corfu while smoke and orange haze blanket the night sky. The fire broke out in the northern part of the island, popular with British tourists.

The residents of Santa, Megoula, Porta, Palia Perithia and Sinies were ordered to evacuate to Kasiopi due to the fires in Corfu.

According to the AFP news agency, Yannis Artopios, a spokesman for the fire department, said about 2,466 people were evacuated overnight.

The order came after Jet2 and Tui canceled all flights to Rhodes. The Jet2 planes were to depart for the Greek island, full of tourists. But the planes remained empty and are instead being used to evacuate holidaymakers fleeing the fire.

Thousands of tourists were forced to flee their hotels and pictures captured the dramatic evacuation of the beaches by a fleet of private boats as the fires raged in the background.


Tui gives an update for tourists on Rhodes

Travel company Tui said holidaymakers had returned to the UK from Rhodes on “three special flights”.

A statement said: “We are now working hard to get everyone home safely. Our first passengers are returning to the UK overnight on three special flights and plans are in place to bring all those affected back as soon as possible.”

“We are aware of how distressing and difficult it was for the evacuees and ask them to continue to follow the advice of the local authorities and to stay in touch with the Tui representatives in all evacuation centres. Our teams will contact customers as soon as possible with any news.

“We have canceled all outbound flights to Rhodes up to and including Tuesday and passengers traveling on these flights will receive a full refund.”

“Passengers traveling on Wednesday will be offered a penalty-free rebooking to another holiday or the option to cancel for a full refund.

“We continue to operate flights to bring customers who are currently holidaying elsewhere in Rhodes home as planned.

“The safety and well-being of our customers and teams remain our top priority.”

Maryam Zakir-HussainJuly 24, 2023 09:06


A chilling satellite image shows the extent of the forest fires in Rhodes

This satellite image shows the area hit by wildfires in Rhodes, Greece on Sunday.

An outbreak of forest fires has forced the “largest evacuation in Greek history” as around 2,500 people were evacuated from Corfu.


Maryam Zakir-HussainJuly 24, 2023 8:51 am


Tourists have to walk for miles to get to safety

In Rhodes, some holidaymakers said they walked for miles in the scorching heat to get to safety. The fires left blackened trees and dead animals on the road next to burned-out cars.

Many tourists spent the night on the airport floor waiting for repatriation flights. “It was quite a battle on the beach with the smoke,” said John Hope, a tourist from Manchester, England.

The tour operators Jet2, TUI and Corendon have canceled flights to Rhodes. British airline easyJet announced on Sunday that it was operating two repatriation flights from Rhodes to London’s Gatwick Airport on Monday, in addition to the already nine flights between the island and Gatwick.

The airline said it would add another repatriation flight on Tuesday.

Ryanair announced on Sunday that flights to and from Rhodes would operate as usual. Its chief financial officer, Neil Sorahan, said the airline was monitoring the situation on Monday.

“We have a lot of customers there who want to go home. We won’t leave them behind, so we’ll keep traveling in and out,” he said.

“At this point in time there is no need to offer more flights. We allow people to book earlier flights.”

(Eurokinissi/AFP via Getty Images)

Maryam Zakir-HussainJuly 24, 2023 8:43 am


To see: Tourists from Rhodes sleep on the floor of the airport waiting for their evacuation

Tourists fleeing forest fires in Rhodes have had to sleep on the ground for the second night in a row while waiting for evacuation flights.

Forest fires in Greece: Rhodes tourists sleep on airport floor awaiting evacuation

Maryam Zakir-HussainJuly 24, 2023 08:37


British tourists describe their escape from the Rhodes forest fire: ‘It was hell on earth’

A mother who says she experienced “hell on earth” was among British tourists forced to leave Rhodes this weekend as fierce wildfires continue to rage across the Greek resort island.

Officials on the island, which lies southwest of Turkey in the Aegean Sea, launched Greece’s biggest evacuation operation ever as the fire ravaged vast swathes of land and threatened resort towns popular with holidaymakers.

Tourists have been forced to seek shelter in schools, sports stadiums, airports and alternative hotels while firefighters struggled desperately to contain the blazes, which could worsen on Monday as wind speeds more than double on the island, officials fear.

Maryam Zakir-HussainJuly 24, 2023 08:30


Forest fires force tourists to flee Rhodes

Wildfires raged across Greece on Monday, forcing people to evacuate a beach on the island of Corfu, while tourists crowded an airport in Rhodes after thousands fled hotels and resorts over the weekend.

Fires have been burning in Rhodes since Wednesday, forcing the evacuation of 19,000 people over the weekend as an inferno hit coastal towns on the island’s south-east coast.

Rhodes and Corfu are among the most popular destinations in Greece for tourists who come mainly from Great Britain and Germany.

“We are on the seventh day of the fire and it has not been brought under control,” Rhodes Deputy Mayor Konstantinos Taraslias told state broadcaster ERT.


Maryam Zakir-HussainJuly 24, 2023 8:18 am


Around 2,500 people were evacuated from Corfu

According to the Greek Fire Service, around 2,500 people have been successfully evacuated from Corfu, while evacuations continue on three islands.

According to the AFP news agency, Yannis Artopios, a spokesman for the fire department, said about 2,466 people were evacuated overnight.

So far, no houses or hotels have been evacuated, he said.

Stuti MishraJuly 24, 2023 08:05


59 people were evacuated from Corfu by sea

Sea evacuations have begun from the Greek island of Corfu to evict people fleeing wildfires off the island.

Around 59 people have been evacuated from Nissaki beach on the northwest coast, according to the Greek Coast Guard.

The evacuation was carried out using six Coast Guard vessels and nine private vessels.

A general view of a wildfire on Mount Pantokratoras on the island of Corfu, Greece


Stuti MishraJuly 24, 2023 07:53


Tourists fleeing the Rhodes inferno spend the second night at the airport

Thousands of tourists and residents fleeing the wildfires on the Greek island of Rhodes took shelter in emergency shelters and slept in airports. Many were evacuated on private boats as the blaze threatened resorts and coastal villages.

Tourists rest while awaiting evacuations due to forest fires in the departures hall of the airport on the Greek island of Rhodes





Stuti MishraJuly 24, 2023 07:50


Evacuations also begin in Euboea

Another Greek island, Euboea, has started evacuating people as more wildfires broke out after Corfu and Rhodes

Authorities ordered residents of four southern villages to evacuate to the town of Karystos.

Central Greece’s vice governor Giorgos Kelaiditis, who was staying near one of the villages, told state agency ANA-MPA that the situation was difficult, according to The Guardian.

“The fire is maybe 2 km away, but the wind is strong, growth is small, the smoke is thick and the air is difficult to breathe,” he said.

Stuti MishraJuly 24, 2023 07:31

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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