Updated at 10:50
Large-scale fires continue on the Greek islands. In addition to Rhodes in the Aegean, people also had to evacuate from Corfu in the Ionian. The Czech Foreign Ministry urges citizens not to travel to places affected by fires. However, more and more tourists continue to head to Rhodes.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not advise people to travel to areas affected by fires. In Rhodes, the municipalities are Kiotari, Gennadi, Pilonas, Laerma, Lardos, Lindos, Kalathos, Malona, Asklipeio, Peukus, Massari and Charaki. “However, we would like to point out that the high fire risk extends to the entire island,” the ministry further warns, urging tourists heading to the Greek islands to register with the Drozd system.
It also burns in the northeastern part of Corfu. According to the ministry, evacuations are taking place in 17 districts: Vigglaturi, Nisaki, Row, Katavalo, Kentroma, Tritsi, Kokkokilas, Sarakiviatika, Plagia, Kalami, Vlahatika, Kavalleraina, Santa, Megula, Porta, Palia Peritia, Sinies.
Other major fires are on the island of Evia, from where 4 districts were evacuated, and in the north of the Peloponnese in the Aigio region.
In connection with the fires, the Ministry has set up a special line +420 222 264 240, where people can contact in case of problems. They can also contact the embassy in Athens on +30 694 473 37 69. Emergency lines have also been set up by travel agencies. For Čedok it is +420 296 184 910, DER Touristik, Exim and Fischer clients can contact their travel agencies at +420 255 787 999, CK Blue Style receives calls at +420 226 036 100.
Due to the fires in Rhodes, about 20,000 people had to be evacuated, of which about 2,000 were tourists. It burns mainly in the central and southwestern parts of the island. On Monday morning, the first repatriation flights, organized by travel agencies, arrived from the Czech Republic. However, other parts of the island are considered safe, and travel agencies send tourists there and beyond.
The evacuation continues in Corfu. According to the British BBC, residents of the villages of Santa, Megula, Porta, Palia, Peritia and Sinies were invited to it. Evacuation ships were sent to the scene. Around 30,000 people across Greece have already been forced to flee their homes, according to a Greek police spokesman. Several people ended up in the hospital because of the fires, mostly due to smoke inhalation. However, no human casualties have been reported.
“The travel agency Čedok, which has the most clients among Czech tour operators on the Greek island of Rhodes, organized a repatriation flight on Sunday evening at its own expense in cooperation with Smartwings airline. It will take customers from the affected areas home on board a Boeing 737 with a capacity of more than 200 people,” Čedok spokeswoman Katerina Pavlikova said of the evacuation from Rhodes.
“Tours departing on Monday to hotels in the immediate vicinity that have certain service restrictions or do not accept tourists have been cancelled. Čedok offered customers a change in date or destination as part of a free offer or cancellation. Lindos has also been added to the list of places where the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not recommend traveling, so stays in this area will also be cancelled. Individual cases are considered individually,” adds Pavlikova.
“We are monitoring the situation on the island of Corfu and, based on official information from the site, we will make a decision on further departures. The customers at the destination are fine. We register the first questions on our hotline, but we ask customers to wait, especially if they have a vacation planned in a few days or weeks. If there are any changes, we will contact them,” Pavlikova added regarding the situation in Corfu.
“The first customers return by plane as early as Sunday evening. The next flight will be a special repatriation flight to Prague on Monday morning at nine o’clock or another flight in the late evening hours. For clients who want to end their holiday, we have ample accommodation in a safe area in the north of the island.
“At the moment we have no customers in the danger zone. We are closely monitoring the situation, we are in contact with the authorities of the Czech Republic and Greece and, if necessary, we are ready to initiate the necessary measures,” Bukovanska added about the situation in Corfu.
“We are gradually contacting customers who were scheduled to fly to the south of the Greek island of Rhodes on a Monday flight and offering them a free cancellation or tour change. We are constantly monitoring and evaluating the situation, the next step will depend on the development of the situation. The safety of our customers is our number one priority and we will certainly not send anyone to the danger zone. If you have a flight to the south of Rhodes in the coming days, we will contact you, please be available to us at the phone numbers you provided when organizing the tour,” said travel agencies Fischer and Exim Tours. They also organized a repatriation flight for their clients in the threatened areas of Rhodes.
Greece, like the rest of southern Europe, has been hit by a heat wave in recent days, with temperatures reaching over 40 degrees Celsius. It is also associated with severe drought, which has increased the risk of wildfires. They have also flared up in recent weeks, for example, in Croatia or the Canary Islands.
Shots from hell. Nikola filmed what it looks like on the island of Rhodes: