'We feel abandoned': Scots stranded on Greek island ravaged by fire

Wild fires on the island of Rhodes have been burning to six days straight, with tourists left in limbo.

‘We feel abandoned’: Scots stranded on Greek island Rhodes ravaged by fire Supplied

Scottish holidaymakers stranded on a Greek island ravaged by fire have said they feel abandoned and frustrated by their situation.

Wild fires on the island of Rhodes have been burning to six days straight, with multiple hotels and resorts in the area evacuated and tourists left in limbo.

In previous days, the blaze was confined to the island’s mountainous centre, but aided by winds, very high temperatures and dry conditions, it spread on Saturday towards the coast on the island’s central-eastern side.

Local media reported the fires had reached three hotels, which had already been evacuated.


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A couple from Glasgow, stranded on Rhodes, told STV News they still don’t know when they’ll be able to leave a temporary evacuation centre as the wildfires continue to spread.

Debra McManus and her husband are among many Scots caught up in the biggest evacuation effort Greece has ever seen.

Debra McManus and her husband are sleeping in an old school-turned evacuation centre.

After almost 24 hours, they say they are still waiting for TUI to arrange alternative accommodation – Jet2 and TUI have suspended all flights from Scotland.

“My husband and I flew in to Rhodes late [on Saturday] on a TUI package,” Ms McManus said, “we were due to be staying in Lindos.”

“The airport was chaotic when we arrived – we were taken to an evacuation centre in Rhodes town with hundreds of other tourists, and we are still here.

“TUI can’t tell us if we will be moving to alternative accommodation tonight although that is looking unlikely.”

She added that she and fellow evacuees were left with no access to showers, and were sleeping on sunbed mattresses on the centre’s floor.

A pick-up truck transports sunbed mattresses to the centre.

“The main frustration is a lack of information from TUI – Jet2 appear to have transferred guests from emergency centres to hotels, but TUI guests are still in limbo.”

Another traveller who flew in to the island on Saturday questioned why TUI had run flights and brought passengers to Rhodes, despite the wildfires stretching across the island.

Brian Newgreen, along with his wife and teenage daughters, told STV News he feels like the family has been “abandoned”.

“I appreciate there are people in worse positions than us, but I’m still at a total loss over why TUI flew us yesterday when they knew that our resort was being evacuated,” Mr Newgreen from Glasgow said.

“I’ll not get more time off work to rebook a holiday – if TUI had done the right thing yesterday, we’d be at worst in our own beds and maybe even have managed to book an alternative holiday.”

TUI said online: “Those customers currently in Rhodes will return on their intended flight home.

“The safety of our customers and staff is of top priority and we will continue to keep a close eye as the situation develops and share more updates.”

The six-day blaze continued to rage on Sunday after the fire service warned more fires could break out with temperatures set to reach 45C.

Greek authorities said 19,000 people have been evacuated so far, with the Ministry of Climate Change and Civil Protection adding it was “the largest evacuation from a wildfire in the country”.

A fireman douses flames on a wildfire in Greece. Getty Images

Police on Rhodes said 16,000 have been evacuated by land and 3,000 by sea from 12 villages and several hotels.

In an update on Twitter, Jet2Travel said: “The situation in Rhodes continues to evolve quickly and our absolute priority is the health, safety and well-being of customers and colleagues.

“Due to these extraordinary circumstances, we have cancelled all flights and holidays that are due to depart to Rhodes up to and including Sunday July 30.

“We will fly those aircrafts to Rhodes with no customers onboard, so that we can bring customers back to the UK on their scheduled flight.”

TUI has been approached for comment.

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