In the Path of Destruction: Corfu Conducts Sea Evacuations as Wildfires Rage

In the Path of Destruction: Corfu Conducts Sea Evacuations as Wildfires Rage


Wildfires continue to ravage Greece, with the island of Corfu facing a dire situation, leading to the evacuation of numerous individuals. Following the massive rescue of more than 19,000 holidaymakers from Rhodes over the weekend, Corfu became the second Greek island to launch major evacuations due to the devastating fires.

The urgency of the situation prompted authorities to begin evacuating people from Nissaki beach on Sunday night, as the fires rapidly spread. The Greek Coast Guard utilized social media to communicate their efforts, successfully rescuing 59 people from the beach and ensuring their safe transfer to the port of Corfu.

As the fires escalated, over 600 holidaymakers were relocated from hotels on Corfu to the municipal theatre at Corfu Port, according to reports by Greek media. Fortunately, there were no reports of harm to any of the evacuees.

In response to the escalating wildfires, authorities issued evacuation advisories to people in at least 17 areas of the island, including popular destinations frequented by British tourists. Residents and visitors in various regions, such as Santa, Megoula, Porta, Palia Perithia, Sinies, Viglatouri, Nisaki, Rou, Katavolo, Kentroma, Tritsi, Kokokila, Sarakiniatika, Plagia, Kalami, Vlachatika, and Kavalerena, were urged to relocate to safer areas.

The gravity of the situation on Corfu mirrored the events on Rhodes, where the Greek Ministry of Climate Change and Civil Protection conducted the largest evacuation from a wildfire in the country’s history. Families were forced to flee, leaving their belongings behind as the menacing flames closed in. Thousands sought refuge in schools and shelters as resorts and coastal villages faced destruction. The heatwave sweeping through southern Europe exacerbated the situation, with temperatures in Greece expected to soar above 40°C.

To cope with the immense evacuation requirements, coastguard vessels and private boats stepped in to rescue over 3,000 tourists from Rhodes’ beaches, while approximately 16,000 people were evacuated by land, showcasing the scale of the emergency response.

In an effort to repatriate British holidaymakers stranded on Rhodes, easyJet scheduled multiple rescue flights alongside their regular services. However, some airlines, like Tui and Jet2 Holidays, suspended their flights, prompting criticism from consumers.

In a proactive move, the UK government deployed a Rapid Deployment Team, comprising personnel from the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office and British Red Cross responders, to assist travelers at Rhodes International Airport with travel documents and collaborate with Greek authorities and travel operators on-site.

As the wildfires continued to pose a significant threat, easyJet offered support to its customers by allowing those with bookings until Saturday to change their travel dates without incurring additional charges. The situation remains precarious, and authorities are diligently working to control and mitigate the fires to safeguard residents, tourists, and the island’s natural beauty.

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