Irish Citizens Impacted by Wildfires in Rhodes, Greece
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has been contacted by a number of Irish citizens affected by the ongoing wildfires in Rhodes, Greece. Thousands of tourists and residents have been forced to evacuate several villages on the island due to the fires, which have been burning for almost a week. Officials were concerned that strong winds would hinder efforts to contain the flames on Sunday. The fires have caused road closures and extensive damage to property, particularly in the central part of the island. Some areas are currently being evacuated.
A spokesperson for the DFA advised Irish citizens to remain vigilant and stay away from the affected areas. They also urged citizens to evacuate promptly if necessary and to follow the instructions of emergency services and local authorities. The situation is evolving, and it is important for citizens to comply with evacuation orders. Irish citizens in immediate danger should call the Greek Emergency Services on 112. It is recommended to activate roaming on mobile phones to receive alerts from local authorities.
Temporary shelters have been set up by Greek authorities for tourists who have had to evacuate their hotels. Tourists are advised to contact their tour operator or agency for information on arrangements and flights. For consular assistance, Irish citizens can call the Embassy of Ireland in Greece at +30 2107232771 or the Honorary Consulate of Ireland in Rhodes at +30 2241075655. In Ireland, the Department of Foreign Affairs HQ can be reached at 01 4082527.
Before traveling to Rhodes, citizens are advised to check with their travel operator, agency, or hotel to determine if the area they plan to visit is affected by the wildfires and evacuations. Travel disruptions are likely, and the Department of Foreign Affairs is recommending against travel to the affected areas.
According to the travel industry, there are currently an estimated 700 Irish tourists on the island of Rhodes, with most of them located in the northern part, away from the fires in the south.
TUI has announced the cancellation of all outbound flights to Rhodes until July 25 due to the wildfires. However, Ryanair flights to and from Rhodes Airport are currently operating as normal and are unaffected by the forest fires. Passengers departing from Rhodes are advised that Ryanair will accept temporary travel documentation issued by the Greek Police. The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also established a helpdesk at Rhodes airport to assist visitors who have lost their travel documents. Passengers should check the Ryanair app for any changes to their flights.
TUI stated that they are working with local authorities in Rhodes to manage the movement of people, food, and power in the affected areas. They have representatives on the ground at all evacuation points and have brought in additional team members to support customers. TUI will continue to collaborate with authorities to provide assistance to those affected. Outbound flights to Rhodes have been cancelled until Tuesday, and passengers scheduled to travel on Wednesday will be offered a fee-free amendment to another holiday. Customers currently in Rhodes will return on their intended flight home. The safety and well-being of customers and teams remain TUI’s top priority.
Advice from Travel Agents
The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) advises holidaymakers on the island of Rhodes to follow local advice. Most Irish tourists are in the northern areas of Rhodes, which are unaffected by the wildfires. The fires are concentrated in the southeast corner of the island. If individuals are in an affected area and have been advised to evacuate, they should do so and stay in contact with local tour operator staff on the ground. Alternatively, they can contact their tour operator or the travel agent they booked their holiday with for assistance. It is recommended to keep mobile phones charged and set to roaming to receive alerts from local authorities.
The travel industry estimates that there are approximately 700 Irish tourists currently on the island of Rhodes. The majority of them are in the northern part, away from the fires in the south. In the event of flight cancellations, affected individuals will be offered an alternative trip to a different location. They may be required to pay additional charges or be given the option of a refund or rebooking.
Overall, Irish citizens are urged to stay informed, follow evacuation orders, and prioritize their safety during this challenging situation in Rhodes, Greece.