Corfu evacuated as wildfires rage

Corfu has become the latest Greek island to issue an evacuation order, as the country grapples with wildfires.

Photos uploaded to social media show flames engulfing Corfu. A fire broke out on the northern part of the island which is popular with British tourists.

It comes after some 19 000 people were evacuated on the island of Rhodes, which has also been hit by fires.

Many were forced to flee their hotels as the flames continued to spread from the centre of the Greek island.

Greece has been grappling with searing heat, with temperatures exceeding 40C across the country, and fires have blazed for nearly a week in some areas.

A national holiday that had been planned for Monday has been cancelled “in view of the extraordinary conditions prevailing in the country due to the fires”, the Greek presidency said.

Late on Sunday evening Greece’s Emergency Communications Service published evacuation orders for a number of areas of Corfu.

People in the areas of Santa, Megoula, Porta, Palia, Perithia and Sinies on the island have been told to evacuate.

Boats in the area had been dispatched to evacuate residents by sea, a government official said.

Corfu – in the Ionian sea off the northwest of Greece – is a destination popular with tourists, with hundreds of thousands Brits visiting every year.

Rhodes – an island some 1 027km (670 miles) away – has been battling wildfires fanned by strong winds since Tuesday and after smoke started enveloping tourist areas.

Some 16 000 people were evacuated by land and 3,000 by sea on the island, according to local officials. Greece’s Ministry of Climate Change and Civil Protection said it was “the largest evacuation from a wildfire in the country”.

Thousands of holidaymakers were camped out at Rhodes airport on Sunday, waiting for a flight to get out. Konstantia Dimoglidou, a Greek police spokeswoman, told the AFP news agency that more than 30 000 people have been evacuated across the country so far.

Some tourists said they walked for miles in scorching heat to reach safety. Dead animals have been seen in the road near burnt-out cars. (BBC)


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