Shocking before and after pictures have shown the sheer scale of destruction in Rhodes after terrifying wildfires ripped through luxury hotels, shops and homes on the packed Greek island resort.
The endless blazes have forced thousands to flee their resorts, with some facing 12-hour walks to safety as they were chased by roaring flames and thick black smoke in the scorching heat.
The wildfires, branded as a ‘wake-up call’ to climate change by deputy chief whip of the House of Lords Patrick Courtown, have triggered the largest evacuation ever in Greece – as thousands of Brits desperately tried to get home.
Temperatures have risen above 40C again in parts of Greece today following more night-time evacuations from fires that have raged out of control for days.
But while holidaymakers have fled, those living and working in Rhodes will face a mammoth battle to get the tourist hotspot back to its former self.
Shocking before and after pictures have shown the sheer scale of destruction in Rhodes after terrifying wildfires ripped through luxury hotels, shops and homes on the packed Greek island resort. Pictured: The Gre Cafe has been burned in Kiotari
The four-star Princess Sun hotel has also fallen victim to the destructive wildfires in Greece
This is what the Princess Sun Hotel looked like before it became ravaged by destructive flames
Satellite views of Kiotari, Rhodes show the sheer level of damage from the wildfires this month
Many hotels are set to be closed for at least the next fortnight – some all summer – leaving an estimated 30,000 Brits in limbo who are set to descend on the Greek island in the coming weeks.
Astonishing before and after photos highlight the scale of damage caused by the inferno – especially in Kiotari, a tranquil beach resort known for its all-inclusive hotels.
The stunning four-star Princess Sun Hotel in Kiotari has been transformed into a blackened shell of its former beauty.
Just a week ago, holidaymakers were basking in sunshine and relaxing across the three swimming pools and spa.
The hotel, which has 214 newly revamped rooms, describes itself as a resort that ‘welcomes guests in a warm and friendly ambience, ideal for families and couples’.
In stark contrast today, the hotel has been reduced to charred scorched remains as wildfires swept down from the mountains and engulfed large parts of the island.
Left behind is melted furniture, a scorched playground and burnt luggage which was left behind amid the frenzy of evacuations.
The Gre Cafe, also in Kiotari, has also been devastated by the roaring flames and black smoke. What was once a classic Greek pristine white cafe with wooden tables and chairs outside now looks completely derelict.
This row of shops in Kiotari has also been destroyed by the wildfires which have relentlessly engulfed Rhodes for more than a week
The idylic coastline is popular for many tourists who are used to seeing sun loungers in front of the crystal clear waters
But now the sand has changed colour, sun loungers have been destroyed and buildings need urgent repair
Chairs have been burned and discarded on the floor, while the building itself has been covered in black ash and smoke.
Lindos Imperial Resort and Spa, in Kiotari, was another one of the hotels evacuated when wildfires swept through the Greek island. A video shared on TikTok showed the resort’s scorched poolside area and charred sun loungers.
Lindos Imperial said it is ‘temporarily out of operation until further notice’ as a result of the ongoing wildfires.
The resort-studded coastline, known for its crystal waters and clear blue skies above, is now a ghost town. The beaches have been left deserted – the sand blackened by the ash and the boardwalks destroyed.
It’s not just hotels that have suffered. People’s livelihoods have been devastated by the fires, with many homes burned to a cinder.
Cars parked outside the Kiotari shopping mall have also been completely ripped apart by the terrifying flames that have forced 30,000 to flee the resort island by sea, land and air.
Desperate residents, many with wet towels around their necks to stave off the scorching heat, used shovels to beat back flames approaching their homes on Sunday, while firefighting planes and helicopters resumed water drops at first light.
Kiotari shopping mall before wildfires (left) and now (right). Two cars have been completely incinerated
The European Union has sent 500 firefighters, 100 vehicles and seven planes from 10 member states, while Turkey, Israel, Egypt and other countries have also sent help
A burnt beach bar can be seen near the village of Kiotari. The boardwalk along the beach is completely destroyed
Vassilis Kikilias, the minister for climate crisis and civil protection, said: ‘For the 12th day, under extreme conditions of heat and strong winds, we are fighting non-stop on dozens of forest fire fronts… The Greek Fire Service has battled more than 500 fires – more than 50 a day.’
Tragically, a Greek air force water-dropping plane crashed while diving into a wildfire in southern Greece on Tuesday, killing both pilots.
The crash occurred on the island of Evia, and was aired in a state television broadcast that showed the low-flying CL-215 aircraft disappearing into a canyon before a fireball was seen moments later.
The air force said the pilots, aged 34 and 27, both died in the crash. The plane had no ejection system.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis cancelled a planned visit to Cyprus for Wednesday, and three days of mourning were called for Greece’s armed forces.
‘They offered their lives to save lives,’ Mitsotakis said of the pilots.
The European Union has sent 500 firefighters, 100 vehicles and seven planes from 10 member states, while Turkey, Israel, Egypt and other countries have also sent help.
Contributing nations included Italy which was dealing with its own fires and extreme weather at home.
On the island of Sicily, Palermo’s international airport temporarily shut down as flames from a wildfire approached.