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Greece, Rhodes. Fire. Relationships of Polish tourists [ZDJĘCIA]

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We didn’t have any things, we slept on the floor, some people took the tablecloths off the tables to lie on them – reported in an interview with the editors of Kontakt 24 Mr. Grzegorz, one of the Polish tourists evacuated to Rhodes due to a forest fire, who spent the night from Saturday to Sunday together with others in the banquet hall. As Mr. Michał, who is also on holiday on a Greek island, said, “the lifeguard suddenly started whistling to get out of the pool and that you need to evacuate”. The total number of evacuees exceeds 30,000.

A forest fire in Rhodes forced thousands of people, including many tourists, to evacuate on Saturday. The fire, which reached the eastern coastal towns of Kiotari, Jenadi and the resort of Lardos, engulfed many hotels. In total, more than 30,000 people had to flee from the fire, which the fire brigade is fighting for the sixth day, local MP Panagiotis Dimelis said on Sunday. People were placed in schools, sports clubs, banquet halls and conference centers. Greek police said the fire led to the largest evacuation in the country’s history. Three thousand people have already been transported from the island by boats.

“Due to the current fire situation in Greece, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Athens are monitoring the situation on an ongoing basis and are in contact with Polish tourists. Currently, the lives of Polish citizens are not at risk. Local services and travel agencies responsible for their stay in Greece provide logistic services for tourists,” the ministry stressed in a statement released on Sunday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasizes that the Polish embassy in Athens constantly informs about threats and activities of local services via social media and via the available emergency phone +30 693 655 46 29.

Read also: Fires in Rhodes. The authorities are opening a help center for tourists

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Reports of Polish evacuated tourists are Polish tourists whose reports we receive on Contact 24.

“We didn’t have any stuff, we slept on the floor”

We were contacted by Mr. Grzegorz, who has been in Rhodes since Friday. As he reported, he was evacuated on the evening of his arrival.

– The first evacuation took place on Friday morning, when we were ordered to gather in the lobby of the Sunrise Hotel in the resort of Pefkos. We spent about two hours there, after which the evacuation was canceled and we were able to return to our rooms. It was said then that it was safe because the direction of the wind had changed. Unfortunately, this direction changed again in the evening and we were called back to the lobby again, where we waited for the coaches for about two hours, all the while watching as other tourists were already evacuated by that time.

Mr. Grzegorz informed that he left the hotel by bus after about two hours. – There were about 200 of us, three coaches came to pick us up, there were probably about 60 seats in each. We were taken about 20, maybe 30 kilometers away, where we were all accommodated in what appeared to be a wedding or banquet hall. We didn’t have any things, we slept on the floor, some people took the tablecloths off the tables to lie on them – he described. He added that on Sunday they managed to return to the hotel in Pefkos.

“The conditions were very difficult from the beginning”

Among the evacuated were Mr. Jakub and his wife Katarzyna. They had to leave the Costa Lindia hotel in Lardos on Saturday. The man explained that their trip was purchased from the Rainbow travel agency.

– We flew out of Warsaw on Monday. Yesterday we were evacuated from the hotel and taken to the school building, where we were placed with other tourists in the gymnasium – he reported. As he said, “the conditions were very difficult from the beginning, the help from the resident of the travel agency was negligible and only the wonderful Greek volunteers really rose to the occasion”. – Currently, we are still in the gym in the vicinity of Rhodes Town. It’s hot and some people are vomiting, probably because of the temperature or because of the smoke and ash in the air, said Mr. Jakub on Sunday evening.

“The lifeguard suddenly started whistling to get out of the pool and to evacuate”

We were also contacted by Mr. Michał, who was evacuated from the hotel to the sports hall. – We were in the town of Lardos and on Friday the forests were burning so much that in the evening you could see and smell the suffocating smoke. He reported that the evacuation began the next day. – On Saturday morning we got up and the firemen put out the fire. There was smoke, but the sky was clear. Around 11 o’clock he suddenly appeared smog black smoke. New tourists continued to arrive at the hotel. We asked at the reception if there would be any evacuation, but everyone denied it. Around 14 hours the lifeguard suddenly started whistling to get out of the pool and that you need to evacuate and get out of the hotel. There was a huge communication chaos – he reported. Mr. Michał described how the evacuation proceeded. – First they told us to go outside the hotel. The organizers of the tour could not be contacted. The residents seem to have disappeared. They took us from the hotel to the town of Lindos on the buses of the Greek public transport company, and from there to the sports hall some 15 kilometers to the north,’ he said. As he said, “the sports hall was not completely prepared. The Greeks began to help, bring water and food.”

“Dramatic Situation”

Magdalena also shared her account of the evacuation to Rhodes. In the photos she sent, you can see the gathered tourists in the wedding hall and a cloud of smoke hovering over the island. “The southeast side of the island has been evacuated and tourists have been transported to other locations away from the fire,” she said.

– The conditions are simple, because we sleep on the floor, but we saved the skin because the situation is dramatic – the woman added.

“They had to go to the beach and there they were, in the middle of the night, all alone”

We were also contacted by Mr Yaroslavwhose 18-year-old daughter Natalia – as he reported – flew to Rhodes in June to work as a fitness animator in one of the hotels there.

The man explained that his daughter worked and lived at the Lindos Princess Beach Hotel in Lardos. As he reported, on Saturday morning “she called us from her roommate’s phone and said that she and a group of 10 other animators from all over Europe were left to fend for themselves”. – From what she said, the evacuation was so fast that she did not have time to return to the room to take her phone, money, payment card or clothes – described Mr. Jarosław. He added that they had not been contacted by any representative of the Swiss company that organized their trip, they could not stay at the hotel, so at some point they had to go to the beach and there they were, in the middle of the night, completely alone. – The daughter said that they were taken care of by a random Greek who took them to some school and there they could spend the night in the gym, they also got water and some food. The next day, another stranger, probably a teacher from this school, drove them to a hotel in a private car, the man said on Sunday. He added that “apparently, residents from other travel agencies help them by letting them into their rooms, but this is a temporary situation, because apparently they can’t even eat food here.”

Contact 24, tvnmeteo.pl, PAP

Main photo source: Contact 24

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