Foreign ministry warns Poles on two Greek islands of travel risks

Since Wednesday, Greece's top tourist destinations, Rhodes and Corfu, have been among areas hit by wildfires caused by the current heatwave. Stamatis Katapodis/PAP/EPA

The Polish foreign affairs ministry has issued a statement addressed to Polish tourists staying on the islands of Rhodes and Corfu recommending they should refrain from traveling to places deemed dangerous or closed to tourist traffic by the Greek authorities.

In the statement, published on Monday, the ministry warned of high fire risk in Greece, set to continue for the next few weeks due to predicted high temperatures.

Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Ministry of Sport and Tourism and the Polish Embassy in Athens have been monitoring the situation since July 21 and remain in contact with Polish tourists in Greece, and consular services work 24 hours a day, according to the statement.

The Polish Embassy in Athens constantly reports on threats and local services' activities via social media and directly to everyone contacting the diplomatic post, whereas both ministries are in ongoing contact with the largest travel agencies present in Rhodes and Corfu, and with the Polish Chamber of Tourism, the statement added.

Earlier on Monday, a meeting was held by the Polish Tourist Organisation, Ministry of Finance, representatives of the Polish Embassy in Athens, MFA's Consular Department, the Insurance Guarantee Fund and travel operators with the largest numbers of clients staying in Greece.

"During the meeting, crisis procedures were discussed and attention was paid to particularly difficult cases reported by Polish citizens to the embassy's hotline," the statement said.

The ministry added that evacuations are being carried out by the Greek fire department and the army. "According to the information available, most Polish citizens from the south of the island were evacuated to safe places, none of the Polish citizens suffered from the fires," it also said.

According to the statement, flights to Poland take place regularly and most carriers organise special flights that enable Poles an earlier return from vacation.

Since Wednesday, Greece's top tourist destinations, Rhodes and Corfu, have been among areas hit by wildfires caused by the current heatwave. The fire that had spread to the so-called tourist zones forced an evacuation during the weekend.

On Monday morning, the Greek fire brigade said that firefighters were also battling fires throughout the night in Crete, Corfu, Rhodes, Euboea and around the town of Aigio in the Peloponnese, as well as in other regions of Greece.

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