Latest World News: Tourists flee wildfires on the Greek island of Rhodes, flights are canceled

Thousands of people spent the night away and tour operators Jet2, TUI and Correndon canceled flights from the island, located in southeastern Greece and popular with holidaymakers for its beaches and historic sites.

Forest fire in GreeceTourists shelter in a stadium after being evacuated following a forest fire on the island of Rhodes, Greece, July 23, 2023. (Reuters)

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A raging wildfire on the Greek island of Rhodes forced thousands of tourists and islanders to shelter in covered schools and stadiums on Sunday after being evacuated from coastal villages and resorts.

Thousands of people spent the night away and tour operators Jet2, TUI and Correndon canceled flights from the island, located in southeastern Greece and popular with holidaymakers for its beaches and historic sites.

A government official told Reuters that 19,000 people had been removed from their homes and hotels, including 3,000 by boat. Many were assisted by the police.

No casualties were reported in the fire.

Greek authorities said the evacuation effort was among the largest the country has ever mounted.

We were walking down the road at 2am and the fire was catching up with us, tourist Amy Leyden told Sky News, calling the experience terrifying.

I didn’t think we were going to make it, said Leyden, describing being moved from two hotels with her 11-year-old daughter, before being taken to safety at a school in the north of the island.

Coastguard vessels and dozens of private boats ferried more than 2,000 tourists from beaches on Saturday after the wildfire, which has been burning for nearly a week, was fanned by high winds and reignited along the southeastern part of the island.

Many fled hotels when huge flames reached the seaside villages of Kiotari, Gennadi, Pefki, Lindos, Lardos and Kalathos. Large groups gathered in the streets under red skies waiting to be brought to safety. Smoke weighed heavily on a deserted beach.

Volunteers battled to put out a blaze that blackened the hillside and charred buildings near Lindos, one of the most visited sites on the island and famous for its acropolis perched on a massive rock inside medieval walls.
We have between 4,000 and 5,000 people now housed in different structures, Thanasis Virinis, a deputy mayor of Rhodes, told Mega TV on Sunday, calling for donations of essentials such as mattresses and sheets.

First published on: 2023-07-23 at 18:21 IST

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An Overview of Global Events in 2023

In 2023, the world witnessed a myriad of events that left a lasting impact on global affairs. From political developments and economic shifts to environmental challenges and breakthroughs in science and technology, the year was marked by significant changes and a sense of urgency for collective action. Here’s an overview of some of the latest world news in 2023.

Political Unrest and Diplomatic Strides:
In the political arena, several regions experienced unrest and geopolitical tensions. The ongoing conflict in the Middle East continued to dominate headlines, with efforts towards peace and stability remaining elusive. However, there were also moments of diplomatic breakthroughs as nations engaged in dialogues to ease tensions and work towards lasting solutions.

Economic Transformations:
The global economy faced both challenges and opportunities. Trade disputes between major powers affected markets, while some countries grappled with debt crises. On the other hand, emerging economies showed resilience and promising growth, fueling optimism for a more balanced global economic landscape.

Technological Advancements:
Innovation surged forward in the tech industry, with breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, renewable energy, and space exploration. Quantum computing achieved milestones, promising radical transformations across industries. Renewable energy sources gained traction, with many countries setting ambitious goals to combat climate change.

Climate Crisis and Environmental Resilience:
As the climate crisis intensified, extreme weather events wreaked havoc in various parts of the world. Wildfires, hurricanes, and floods reminded humanity of the urgent need for climate action. In response, governments and communities across the globe doubled down on efforts to reduce carbon emissions, invest in sustainable infrastructure, and protect biodiversity.

Health and Pandemic Management:
Health remained a global priority as countries continued to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. With the emergence of new variants, vaccination efforts and public health measures remained crucial to curbing the spread of the virus. There were also significant advancements in medical research and technology, offering hope for better preparedness in handling future health crises.

Sports and Cultural Milestones:
Amidst the challenges, the world found moments of joy and unity through sports and culture. International sporting events brought together athletes from diverse backgrounds, promoting solidarity and camaraderie. Cultural exchanges and celebrations showcased the richness of human diversity and fostered mutual understanding.

In conclusion, the year 2023 was a dynamic period filled with significant events that shaped the course of history. From political unrest to technological advancements and environmental challenges, the world witnessed the complexities of the global landscape. While obstacles remained, there were also encouraging developments and collaborative efforts towards a more sustainable, peaceful, and prosperous future for all nations. As we move forward, the lessons learned from these events serve as a reminder of the importance of collective action and cooperation to address shared global challenges.