The Greek Transport Ministry announced that dozens of repatriation flights were returning holidaymakers to their homelands after they were evacuated from the island of Rhodes due to massive fires in the last few days.
A total of 160 flights departed from Rhodes Airport on Sunday and 154 on Monday with many more scheduled in the coming hours. Indicatively, according to the UK’s Foreign Office estimates, approximately 10,000 British tourists were on the island before the fire broke out.
“We have been in contact with the airport from the start and with all the relevant authorities and bodies in order to provide the best possible assistance to the public,” said Transport Minister Christos Staikouras, adding that the ministry was closely monitoring developments.
Dozens of blazes continue to burn across Greece for the eighth consecutive day on Tuesday forcing authorities to issue more evacuation orders. Meanwhile, fire-fighting units are still battling fires on Rhodes, where more villages were evacuated today.
The transport ministry has been at the forefront of tourist repatriation efforts working with airport manager Fraport Greece, Rhodes Airport management, airlines, tour operators and local organizations.
Among others, measures announced to deal with the emergency include scheduling repatriation flights with travel operators TUI and Jet2, distributing meal vouchers and water to passengers waiting to depart; increasing airport staff to assist departing passengers; adding airport seats; and in efforts to facilitate departing travelers and mainly families with children, setting up special rest areas at Rhodes Airport terminal.