UPDATE - Greece evacuates 19,000 as wildfires rage on Rhodes island

UPDATE - Greece evacuates 19,000 as wildfires rage on Rhodes island

Some 266 firefighters, 49 fire engines on the ground battling blazes in assistance by 5 helicopters, 10 airplanes

UPDATES WITH NEW DETAILS, NUMBER OF EVACUATED PEOPLE; REVISES HEADLINE, DECK, LEDE

By Burak Bir

LONDON (AA) - Some 19,000 people have been evacuated from the Greek island of Rhodes as wildfires continued burning for a sixth day, authorities said on Sunday.

The Climate Change and Civil Protection Ministry said 16,000 people were moved out by land, and 3,000 by sea in the "largest ever" wildfire evacuation.

They were transferred from 12 villages and several hotels, and although no casualties were reported, six people were hospitalized with respiratory problems.

As many as 266 firefighters and 49 fire engines were on the ground battling the blazes, assisted by five helicopters and 10 airplanes.

A further 15 fire engines are expected to arrive later in the day. Hundreds of volunteers are also taking part to douse the fires.

The ministry added that 31 firefighters with four engines from Slovakia, two aircraft each from Türkiye and France, and one from Croatia are also making efforts on the island.

Meanwhile, Europe's largest holiday operator TUI Group canceled flights and booked holidays to the Greek island until Tuesday.

Footages shared on social media showed many tourist groups waiting to be contacted from their airlines or travel operators to return to their countries.

The Greek Foreign Ministry on Twitter said it will set up a help desk at the Rhodes International Airport to facilitate departure of visitors in cooperation with the relevant embassies.

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