Saturday, 23 September, 2023

Corfu latest Greek island to evacuate over wildfires

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.