Forest fire in Rhodes: – It should never have gone this far

Forest fire in Rhodes: – It should never have gone this far
Critical: If the forest fires are not brought under control, Cleovoulos Papavsiliou is in danger of losing his house and his cafe.

GENNADI/RHODOS (VG) Desperate Greeks in Rhodes criticize authorities’ handling of wildfires. – We stand on our own feet says the hotel owner.

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– Authorities do nothing. It should never have gone this far, says Cleovoulos Papavsilio (54).

He runs Fredito Gelateria, a small family cafe in the middle of a wildfire-hit area south-east of Rhodes.

For the second time in two days, he and his family had to leave.

– When the flames reached the sea, we thought it would be over. But then the wind changed and the flames reignited, says Gliovoulos.

He is adamant that the fire brigade should have put up barricades to prevent the fire from spreading to the villages.

Re-evacuation: On Monday morning, residents and shop owners will have to evacuate again.

Was kicked out twice

Before the eviction notice came from Saturday, he and his family worked at the restaurant.

Around 4 pm, thick smoke, gray and scared tourists outside the car park. Everyone had to evacuate, but few had transportation to escape.

This is the confusion that occurred around 4pm on Sunday:

– We asked the police for help. We asked the fire brigade for help. But we stand on our own feet, he says.

Greek police said it was the largest exodus in Greek history. Gliovoulos says one of the hoteliers ordered buses that evacuated many tourists.

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He himself drove at least ten laps to the beach, taking parents and children with him, while his wife and daughter provided water and food.

– The corner shopkeeper stayed here all night. Kliovoulos says he put out the fire with fire extinguishers and probably saved all the shops here.

Massive destruction: Maxar has released images showing the devastation of Sunday’s wildfires.

Just after midnight, the flames were less than 100 meters from the cafe.

Then Cleovolos and his family had to extricate themselves.

– I was scared, says daughter Argiro Papavasiliou (15).

Before getting into the water, she took one last photo:

Under 100 meters: The flames quickly approached, but the family’s cafe was spared.

– I’m going to sleep on the beach, on a towel. But that night I slept only for one hour, he says.

Electric poles burned. Many towns and villages in the forest fire area have been without electricity and water for three days.

Kleovoulos shows the way to the cafe.

– Look, that’s our ice cream. That’s our packing. He says everything is destroyed.

DESTROYED: Family cafe to be closed. All items are completely damaged.

Countless cars speed away from the area. It is Second discharge is in full swing.

In the opposite direction, several processions of fire engines, military vehicles and police are driven.

The wind shifted again, sending flames toward the family’s home and hotel.

Burned: Many cars were completely burnt.

Suddenly, Cleovolos’ wife bursts into tears of frustration.

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The flames have consumed the gardens of some houses in their village of Asklipio. Three houses were burnt.

According to the channel PEA Several explosions are heard.

– I don’t care about my house. I don’t care about money, she cries.

– But there are many who have nothing left.

She did not want her name or picture printed.

– Do I have to choose between building a shop for my children or rebuilding the village?

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Joshi Akinjide

Joshi Akinjide

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