‘We are at war’: Dozens flee as Greece battles wildfires | Climate Crisis News

Thousands of people have been evacuated from the Greek islands of Rhodes and Corfu as Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that the Mediterranean country was battling wildfires spreading across the country.

On the island of Rhodes, which is one of Greece’s leading tourist destinations, the flames raged for a seventh day, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate. escape from their homes and hotelsaccording to a fire department spokesman.

The latest evacuation was ordered after 19,000 people, mostly tourists, were evacuated in buses and boats over the weekend from a fire road that reached several coastal areas from nearby mountains.

It was for the world the largest migration effort in recent years.

On the western Ionian tourist island of Corfu, around 2,400 tourists and locals were also evacuated as a precautionary measure from Sunday to Monday. The evacuation took place on the island of Evia and in the mountainous region of the southern Peloponnese.

“For the next few weeks, we must be vigilant at all times. We are at war,” the Greek Prime Minister told parliament. “We will rebuild what we lost, we will pay those who were injured… The climate crisis has already arrived. It will manifest itself everywhere in the Mediterranean with more and more disasters,” he said.

He warned that the country faced “three more difficult days” before the heat wave.

‘I have nothing’

Help continued to arrive from the European Union and elsewhere, with firefighting planes from neighboring Turkey joining the operation in Rhodes, where 10 water jets and 10 helicopters battled the blaze, which was up to 5 meters (16 feet) high despite poor visibility.

Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, from the resort of Kiotari in southern Rhodes, said the tornado was moving faster than firefighters could handle, with winds of up to 50km per hour (31mph).

“The firefighters say there is very little they can do with the storm. And while the world has focused on the tourists who have been removed from the island, it is the local people who remain. “There is a real desperation about what they have lost and what is happening on their island,” said Dekker.

“Many volunteers have joined the fire service but they tell us that there are not enough jobs on the streets.”

One resident of Rhodes, standing on the side of the road as the fire raged, told Al Jazeera that the flames had taken over his house.

“I have nothing,” said Katerina, who only gave her first name. “My house is going away.” Let my animals go there.”

On the beach of the island, many people were hiding in the restaurant. Others poured seawater into a large tank that was stacked in the car to fight the fire.

“The wind has picked up a lot these days. It will be bad on Wednesday. It’s a very, very bad, situation. We need help. Send us help everywhere,” Lanai Karpataki told Reuters.

The aliens are fleeing

Officials said no serious injuries were reported but that hospitals and health volunteers provided first aid to tourists and others, especially for heatstroke and dehydration.

A British tourist who was evacuated from his hotel in Rhodes on a ferry over the weekend told Al Jazeera he was “broken” after the ordeal.

“It has never happened before. It’s bad. Especially the local people,” said Jay Bundy. “I have to say the locals have been fantastic, helping everyone with anything they can do.”

Greek state television broadcast images of long lines of people, some in beachwear, carrying suitcases along the island’s streets on Saturday, as people were ordered to evacuate. After leaving hotels and hostels, many tourists spent Sunday night at Rhodes airport, waiting for their return flights.

“We traveled for about six hours in the heat,” Kelly Squirrel, a transport manager from the United Kingdom, told AFP at Rhodes airport.

Greece’s transport ministry said that from Sunday to 3pm (12:00 GMT) on Monday, 2,115 tourists were sent home, mainly from the UK, Germany and Italy, on 17 flights.

TUI, one of the world’s largest tour operators, said it was suspending flights to the island until Friday and offering free cancellation or rebooking. It said it had 39,000 customers in Rhodes as of Sunday evening.

In Greece, about 50 new fires have broken out every day for the past 12 days, according to government spokesman Pavlos Marinakis.

On Sunday, 64 new fires were recorded.

Firefighters battled another blaze on Monday in southern Italy, where people have been stranded in weeks of hot temperatures in the 30s Celsius (over 100F) and mid-40s Celsius (113F and higher).

A brush fire fueled by the wind has burned near Palermo in Sicily and several other blazes on the Mediterranean island, including near the tourist resort of Cefalu. There were also wildfires in Calabria, including the Aspromonte mountains.

In Sardinia, three flights from Milan, Paris and Amsterdam landed at other airports on the Italian island because the Olbia tarmac appeared too hot on Monday afternoon, RAI state TV reported. The pitch temperature reached 47C (116.6 F).

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