Return of Czech Tourists From Greece Completed Without Problems, Says Fiala

Citizens are not advised to travel to the fire-hit island of Rhodes at the moment. Photo credit: Freepik.

Prague, July 26 (CTK) – The return of Czech citizens from Greece has taken place more or less without problems, and there was no need to send government planes, as capacity was sufficient, Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) told journalists yesterday.

Since Monday, the Foreign Affairs Ministry has not registered any Czech tourists needing assistance in evacuating from Greece, and has no record of any Czechs who do not have their travel documents with them, Martin Smolek, senior director of the ministry legal and consular section, told reporters. There are no major problems with flights from Greece to the Czech Republic, and there are no longer any extraordinary flights, he said.

“At the moment we are providing consular assistance directly at the airport. Together with representatives of travel agencies, I think we are managing to clear all the return flights very well and no major problems are arising,” he added.

Smolek said the ministry would not issue recommendations against travel to the entire island of Rhodes. On the basis of several sources, the situation on Rhodes remains serious, but seems stabilised, he noted.

The ministry is advising tourists not to travel to the areas affected by the fires, which are listed on its website. The travel agencies are following the ministry’s recommendations, Smolek added.

According to Smolek, there are about 4,500 Czech tourists in Rhodes, whose number will probably stabilise for this week, and approximately 9,000 to 10,000 Czechs in the whole of Greece, both on the islands and on the mainland.

The prime minister also said today that citizens are not advised to travel to the fire-hit island of Rhodes at the moment. Instead, they should monitor developments and follow the advice of the Czech foreign ministry, he added.

“I think that anyone who is thinking of travelling to Rhodes should listen carefully to the instructions and recommendations of the Foreign Ministry in particular. Travel agencies have assessed the situation in such a way that they continue to send tours and Czech citizens to at least some parts of the island. I would be very careful here,” Fiala said.

He added that travelling to Rhodes is not recommended at the moment, but he said it was up to everyone to decide.

There are now 4,624 people registered in Greece in the Drozd Czech online travel system, 2,000 more than on Monday morning, Foreign Ministry spokesman Daniel Drake told CTK.

Smolek said on Monday evening that according to information from Czech travel agencies, there were about 4,500 tourists from the Czech Republic on Rhodes, of whom 1,000 reached the island on Monday and about 800 left.

Interior Minister Vit Rakusan (STAN) said on Monday that the Czech Republic was ready to send a team of 50 firefighters to Greece if the Greek side accepted the offer of help. According to the prime minister, it would depend on how the fire and the weather develop, and whether the conditions would allow bringing the fire under control more quickly.

The Foreign Ministry advises tourists not to travel to the areas affected by the fires. In Rhodes, the most affected areas at the moment are Asklipio, Gennadi, Vati, Kalathos, Laerma, Malonas, Masari and Lindos, the ministry said on its website on Monday evening.

The areas of Kiotari, Pylonas, Lardos, Peukous and Charaki areas have also been affected. In these areas, the fire seems to be receding at the moment and theoretically under control, but the situation is highly variable. The entire island of Rhodes is classified as Greece’s highest fire risk level five.

However, fires have also broken out on the island of Corfu, where there is a risk of them spreading in the north-eastern region. Evacuations have been carried out in 17 areas. The ministry said on Monday that 2,466 people had been evacuated from the area of Loutses.

“A large fire is on the island of Euboea in the locality of Karystos (four areas have been evacuated). On the island, a new fire started on Sunday evening in the Platanistos area, where 2,000 people were evacuated from seven locations. Another new fire outbreak is in the Achaia area in the north-western Peloponnese,” the authority added.

In Crete, the highest fire risk level five applies in the districts of Rethymno, Heraklion and Lasithi.

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