Tourists urgently leave Rhodes, over 70 thousand people flew away from the island over the weekend alone. The airport has to handle both the increased passenger traffic during the peak season and the many aircraft involved in firefighting.
Thousands of tourists are being evacuated from the Greek island of Rhodes in the Aegean Sea due to large-scale forest fires, writes Protothema.
On Saturday, July 22, the airport handled 356 flights with 50,000 passengers. On Sunday, until 16:00, 165 flights were made with 20,000 people. The airport is facing increased passenger traffic amid the peak tourist season, along with the need to handle a multitude of firefighting aircraft.
19 thousand people were evacuated from their homes and hotels, the Greek fire brigade called the situation the largest evacuation carried out by the country’s authorities.
A British tourist told Sky News that they had to walk with their children on a night road for two hours to escape the oncoming fire. Another British tourist, Ian Murison, compared what is happening to the end of the world, talking about the attempts of large groups of tourists to get into evacuation buses. Another traveler from the UK noted that shops refuse to take money for water and food, providing food for free, and locals take tourists to safe places, giving priority to women and children.
The Jet2 tour operator said that five planes that were planned to deliver tourists to Rhodes would arrive on the island empty and would take travelers out on regular flights. Air France-KLM said its daily flight from Rhodes operates as normal, Ryanair noted that the fires did not affect flights. Travel agency TUI has canceled all flights to Rhodes until July 25 inclusive.