The Greek island of Rhodes is ravaged by fires. The flames were dangerously close to the hotels, so a preventive evacuation was ordered. In total, the number of evacuated people exceeds 30,000. Polish tourists who unexpectedly had to change their place of residence shared their stories on Contact 24.
Poles from five travel agencies are staying on the Greek island of Rhodes, where fires are raging. Tourists from Grecos, Itaka and Rainbow offices have been evacuated or are being evacuated. Rainbow evacuated about 200 customers, but there is no contact with eight people, the Polish embassy in Athens announced on Sunday.
In the island town of Lindos, there is a group of about 10 people who were evacuated by the Coral travel agency and left without accommodation.
The facility has trouble contacting the TUI office and determining the situation of its Polish customers in Rhodes. It is known that 250 people are staying in 22 hotels. The TUI office previously reported that some Polish tourists received information about the necessary evacuation, but they were not provided with transport. Also, some roads are blocked.
“There is a lot of communication chaos on site and problems with telephone connections and the Internet,” the embassy said in a statement, which emphasizes, however, that “the Athens post is monitoring the situation.”
The embassy also informed that Poles staying in Rhodes can call the number +30 693 655 4629 for consular assistance.
In total, more than 30,000 people had to flee from the fire in Rhodes, which the island’s fire brigade is fighting for the sixth day, local MP Panagiotis Dimelis said on Sunday. Over the last 24 hours, 46 new fires have been detected in Greece, the French news agency AFP reported.
Dimelis told Greek television Skai TV that people who had to flee the fire in Rhodes but were not evacuated from the island were placed in schools, sports clubs and conference centers.
The fire, which reached the eastern coastal towns of Kiotari, Jenadi and the resort of Lardos, engulfed many hotels. The wind, which is contributing to the spread of the fire, is expected to intensify on Sunday around 12:00 p.m. 17 – warned firefighters spokesman Wassilis Warthakogiannis, who is quoted by AFP.
>>> Read more: Fires in Rhodes. The fire is heading to the tourist zone
“Hotel not prepared for our arrival”
Among the evacuated people is Katarzyna z Wejherowowho was resting in one of the hotels in Lardos. On Friday at 10.15 pm she received information from the tour operator that the situation was under control. By then, however, dust from the fire was already appearing above the hotel, and staff would go outside and watch the sky.
When an evacuation was suddenly ordered, the tourist and other guests were evacuated to a hotel in another part of the island. – Hotel not at all [był – red.] prepared for our arrival. There is no organization of any kind – she told the Polish Press Agency in an interview. – We were let into the hotel. There is nowhere to sleep. There are no towels and sheets for us. It is true that we can use everything, but we do not have to, because everything is left in the hotel in Lardos – she added.
The woman added that upon arrival they were offered drinks and snacks, but tourists who arrived later could not use the buffet because it was closed. – It turned out that there are no rooms for us in the hotel. The children slept on the floor and chairs. I tried to take a nap, she said. In her opinion, the conditions are spartan. “People were sleeping on the lawns and on the sun loungers by the pool, but you know, there is a limited number of places to sleep in the hotel,” she recalled.
Polish tourists are still accommodated in a large conference room. “There are a lot of people here, it’s very warm,” she reported.
“We don’t know what’s next”
Also on Contact 24 we received reports of evacuated tourists. One of the Reporters 24, who shared with us a description of his situation, said that he had been in the reception room in Afandou for several hours. He described the current situation with the words “chaos, evacuation, disinformation”.
– There are about 300 people here. There are people here from different parts of the south of Rhodes. Some people don’t have any things with them, they didn’t manage to take anything because they had to run literally on foot on the beach, wrote Mr. Grzegorz.
He himself had to wait a long time for a bus to another hotel.
– There is a lot of misinformation among residents. We have no information on what’s next. We do not know whether planes will be sent for us and what action the Polish government and the carrier of the travel agency are taking in this situation. People want to come back to Poland. But first they want to know anything. Everything is very chaotic. We don’t know what’s next,” he added.
“Waiting for who knows what and how long”
A similar situation happened to Mrs. Agnieszka. Reporter 24 pointed out that she also did not receive the appropriate conditions.
– No information, waiting for who knows what and for how long. People taken out of the hotel yesterday at 2 pm in what they were standing in, without luggage, are sleeping in the hotel lobby. The children are terrified and crying, they want to go home. The residents know nothing. It’s hard to describe, she said.
“The travel agent hotline is not responding”
Tourists also complain about the lack of information from tour operators.
– We were evacuated from the hotel near Pefkos and transported to Afandu. We spent the night on the floor in the wedding hall. We were provided with cold drinks and sweets. What’s next is unknown. The residents left at night, the travel agency’s hotline is not responding, reported Reporter 24 signed “J. Wieczorek”.
“The situation is dramatic”
Magdalena also shared her story. In the photos she sent, you can see the gathered tourists in the hall and a cloud of smoke hovering over the island.
“Unfortunately, the south-east side of the island has been evacuated and tourists have been transported to other locations away from the fire,” she said. For now, the future is not clear, it is not known whether the evacuees will return to their hotels. – We are currently staying in the wedding hall, where the Greeks took care of us. Simple conditions because we sleep on the floor, but we saved the skin because the situation is dramatic – added Reporter 24.
Contact 24, tvnmeteo.pl, PAP
Main photo source: Magdalena/Contact 24