Before and after satellite photos show the devastating effects of the Rhodes wildfire as green rolling fields and mountains are reduced to scorched earth.
The Greek island has been ravaged by a week of wildfires, forcing thousands of holidaymakers to evacuate to safety.
On Sunday afternoon, as the first Britons began to return to Gatwick Airport, Greek authorities issued further warnings for tourists to flee large parts of Corfu as another holiday hotspot was engulfed in flames.
Satellite images taken by Rhodes from January 2, 2022 and July 23, 2023 are in stark contrast.
A raging inferno has spread through the green hills and trees, leaving a path of destruction to divert from the worst disaster in Greece’s history.
For a week, firefighters have battled blazes during the peak tourist season, causing tourists to panic – and cancel flights and holidays.
Before and after satellite photos show the devastating effects of the Rhodes wildfires as green rolling fields and mountains are reduced to scorched earth
Smoke billows into the sky, forcing residents to evacuate as Rhodes faces deadly wildfires amid heatwave across Europe
British tourists have now been told to evacuate parts of Corfu (pictured) as the Greek holiday hotspot is ravaged by wildfires
Hundreds of holidaymakers huddled inside Rhodes International Airport, some trying to sleep on their beach towels as they waited for flights from the island.
Britons stranded in Rhodes have described scenes at the airport as ‘absolute pandemonium’ as they try to escape the blaze.
Desperate families told MailOnline how they were left ‘fighting for our lives’ trying to get on the boat as desperate tourists forced children out of the way to get on board.
Tourists who arrived home from Rhodes warmly embraced those waiting for them at Gatwick Airport after successfully escaping the terrifying hell of the Greek island.
At Corfu, Santa, Megoula, Porta, Palia Perithea and Sini are told to evacuate to Cassiopeia amid devastating fires.
Holidaymakers in Rou, Katavolo, Kentroma, Tritsi, Kokokila, Sarakiniatika, Plagia, Kalami, Vlachatika, Kavalerena should head to Ipsos now. and the British of Viglaturi and Nisaki should flee to Barbati.
The government said on Sunday afternoon that it was ‘actively monitoring the fire in Rhodes’ and was in close contact with local authorities.
The Foreign Office deployed a rapid deployment team of five staff and four British Red Cross responders who were pictured trying to help British nationals at the airport.
Wildfires across Rhodes have moved widely as large parts of the island are engulfed in flames amid a European heatwave.
Destroyed vehicles are seen, people are being evacuated as wildfires burn in Rhodes, Greece
Fires burn forests in Rhodes, Greece. Thousands of holidaymakers are trying to escape the island
A tourist from Wales waits for a plane to leave at the airport after being evacuated following wildfires on the island of Rhodes
Anxious tourists stare at the departure board at Rhodes International Airport amid a chaotic scene, waiting for more information
After rival airlines TUI and Jet2 canceled flights to the island, easyJet announced it would send two repatriation flights to bring more Britons back to London Gatwick but not until tomorrow. The airline will send another flight on Tuesday, while Ryanair has yet to announce any cancellations.
Connor Cullen, 45, his wife Danielle, 41, and their two daughters, aged 11 and 13, said they were kept ‘to themselves’. The distraught family, who live near Belfast, were evacuated from the Princess Beach Hotel in Keotari at 4pm yesterday and taken to Gennadi where they joined thousands waiting for rescue boats on the beach.
Mr Cullen, who works in business intelligence, told MailOnline: ‘Last night when we decided to move Gennady the biggest moment of the situation was we had to take the bull by the horns. No one came to save us. We had to protect ourselves.’
His wife Danielle, a hairdresser, added: ‘When you’re watching a movie and you think it’s never going to happen. Last night saw these things happening and we were really fighting for our lives to get on the boat.’
Mr Cullen said the situation on the beach was ‘something out of a movie’. He added: ‘You might assume with young children that people have taken more but they’re not. Everyone had their own situation and tried to force themselves.
‘They were driving children off the streets. It felt like we had to be physical. We were very lucky that a boat stopped in front of us. Then a sick woman passed in front of us, but the others still tried to push themselves.’
The first Brits arrived at Gatwick Airport with a smile of relief as Rhodes airport was stuck in another hour of delay.
Holidaymakers Charlie and Shane Murphy-Jones arrive at Gatwick Airport from the Greek island of Rhodes as wildfires rage and thousands of people are forced to flee.
A man in an England shirt stands near the international arrivals gate at Gatwick Airport after returning from Rhodes
The family, who arrived in Rhodes on July 15, managed to get a three-hour boat ride to Afantou before getting a taxi to Stegna Beach where they will wait until their flight home to Belfast on Tuesday. After fleeing the hotel, they left behind two small bags and their passports.
Lori Jones, from Crymich, Pembrokeshire, Wales, described a scene of ‘chaos’ at the airport after arriving last night. He told The Independent: ‘It was absolute irony at the airport, where there were long queues of people trying to find out which coach they were.’
Britons have been forced to jump into the sea and jump into boats to escape the oncoming inferno, while others have been forced to sleep on beaches away from the flames.
More than 30,000 people were evacuated from Rhodes, with many others forced to leave their belongings behind as they sought refuge in other resorts.
Those caught in the chaos blasted holiday agencies for a perceived lack of help, as they were forced to rely on overstretched Greek authorities and help from well-off locals.
Now that TUI has said it has canceled all flights to the island until Wednesday while Jet2 has canceled five, empty planes are still traveling to the island to take tourists home.
As the dire situation showed no signs of improvement, with many still trapped, Greek authorities warned that things could get worse.
A UK Government spokesman said: ‘We are actively monitoring the Rhodes bushfires and are in close contact with local authorities.
‘FCDO has deployed a Rapid Deployment Team (RDT) of five FCDO staff and four British Red Cross responders to support British nationals, whose safety is our highest priority. They will continue to assist with travel documents at Rhodes International Airport and liaise with Greek authorities and tour operators on the ground.
‘British nationals to Rhodes should contact their travel operator in the first instance with any queries regarding flight rescheduling and continue to check our updated gov.uk travel advice for information.’