Fire in Greece: Evacuation by boat on Rhodes island, about seventy Belgians evacuated from their hotel

More than 20 boats were involved in rescue operations on the Greek tourist island of Rhodes on Saturday as a forest fire raged for five days.

According to the Greek Coast Guard, the evacuees were on the beaches of Kyotari and Lardos on the east coast of this Mediterranean island. Three coast guard boats carried out the operation, which involved more than 20 private boats, while a Greek navy ship was heading towards the area. According to media reports, about a thousand people have already been evacuated to other beaches.

Firefighters took refuge in the monastery of Yapseni near Lardos, according to ERT television. After trying to convince the nuns there to leave, the firefighters and their commander became trapped in the monastery.

Deputy fire chief Yannis Artapoios said the fire, which started on a hill in the center of the island, was the toughest Rhodes firefighters had faced. Five helicopters and 173 firefighters are working to douse the fire. Three hotels in Kyotari sector were damaged.

Greece is currently experiencing an exceptionally long heat wave, with temperatures expected to soar above 44°C this weekend.

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