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As wildfires continue to ravage popular holiday destinations, such as Rhodes and Corfu, many British tourists find themselves stranded and anxious. In this article, we will delve into the current situation, the number of affected British, and the efforts made by the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) to assist those caught in these dreadful disasters.
How Many British Are Stranded?
Estimating the exact number of stranded British is challenging, but it is believed to be between seven and ten thousand. While the majority of stranded tourists are on the island of Rhodes, Corfu presents a different scenario, with fires mainly affecting non-residential and non-tourist areas.
The Foreign Commonwealth Office has acted swiftly to aid the stranded British tourists. A rapid deployment team, consisting of six FCO officials with expertise in handling such situations, has been dispatched to Rhodes. Additionally, four Red Cross experts have joined them on the ground to provide support.
Situation at the Airport
Only around 10 percent of Rhodes has been affected by the wildfires, and local services, as well as Greek tourists and other emergency responders, have demonstrated a strong reaction. At the airport, the FCO team is assisting tourists with difficulties in liaising with their tour operators and resolving documentation issues.
Handling Documentation Problems
One of the major concerns for stranded tourists is the loss of documentation, including passports, left behind in their hotel rooms. The FCO’s forward team at the airport is empathetic and supportive, working to ensure that people can return home despite these challenges.
Corfu, a popular destination with UK travellers, on Sunday issued its own evacuation order from some limited areas of the island © Julia Dzhyzhevska/Reuters
Expectations for the Future
Predicting the future of the situation remains uncertain, as it hinges on the direction and intensity of the winds. However, the FCO promises to do everything possible to support those who have experienced distress during what should have been a joyful vacation.
Tour Operator Responsibility
Tour operators play a crucial role in providing assistance to their customers during such crises. While some tourists have expressed frustration with certain operators leaving them without guidance or advice, it is expected that the operators will step up their support efforts to fulfill their obligations to their paying customers.
Government’s Climate Change Plans
The ongoing environmental disasters in Rhodes, Corfu, and other regions bring the focus back on the government’s climate change plans. The UK government claims to have a strong reputation in responding to NetZero targets compared to other G7 countries. However, they emphasize the need to strike a balance between tackling climate change and protecting citizens from rising prices.
Pursuing Net Zero and Protecting Citizens
The government believes it can pursue both Net Zero initiatives and protect citizens from economic hardships simultaneously. They have intervened in energy costs and other areas during the pandemic to support families and individuals.
Recent elections, such as the one in Uxbridge, have shown that the government’s position is not as dire as some have predicted. Voters in Uxbridge rejected a labor mayor’s poorly timed and executed plan, indicating that the next election remains wide open, contrary to premature speculations.
As wildfires wreak havoc on holiday destinations, the plight of stranded British has drawn significant attention. The Foreign Commonwealth Office has taken immediate action to assist the affected tourists. While challenges persist, the government aims to strike a balance between climate change goals and safeguarding citizens from economic difficulties. As the situation evolves, we can only hope for a swift resolution and a return to safe and enjoyable vacations for all travelers.
FAQs: Stranded British Abroad – Current Situation and Government Response
1. How many British tourists are currently stranded in Rhodes and Corfu?
The exact number is uncertain, but it is estimated to be between seven and ten thousand.
2. What is the situation like in Corfu compared to Rhodes?
The fires in Corfu are not affecting residential or holiday areas, and most tourists have been sent back to their accommodations.
3. How is the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) responding to the situation?
The FCO has deployed a rapid deployment team, comprising six officials and four Red Cross experts, to Rhodes to provide immediate assistance.
4. What help is available to stranded British at the airport in Rhodes?
The FCO team is available to help tourists with difficulties in liaising with their tour operators and resolving documentation issues.
5. What happens to tourists who have lost their documentation in the chaos?
The FCO team at the airport is working to support tourists who have lost their documentation, including passports, to ensure they can return home.
6. Is the situation expected to get worse?
The situation depends on the direction and intensity of the winds, but the FCO is committed to doing everything possible to support those affected.
7. Is it safe to travel to Rhodes for a holiday at the moment?
The decision to travel depends on the advice of the tour operator, who can suggest alternative locations away from the affected areas.
8. Are tour operators providing adequate support to stranded tourists?
While some tourists have expressed concerns about certain operators’ response, the FCO is confident that tour operators will step up their support efforts for their customers.
9. What is the government doing to address climate change concerns?
The UK government claims to have an effective response to NetZero targets and aims to strike a balance between tackling climate change and protecting citizens from rising prices.
10. How does the recent Uxbridge election results reflect on the government’s position?
The Uxbridge election results suggest that predictions about the government’s future are premature, and the next election remains wide open.
11. Is the government planning to update its advice for stranded tourists?
The FCO is closely monitoring the situation and will update its advice if necessary. As of now, the advice is to consult with tour operators for return travel options.
12. Can the government pursue both Net Zero goals and protect citizens from economic hardships?
Yes, the government believes it can pursue both objectives simultaneously and has demonstrated interventions to support families and individuals during challenging times.
13. How can stranded British seek assistance from the FCO?
Stranded British can seek assistance at the airport in Rhodes, where the FCO team is available to help with documentation issues and liaising with tour operators.
14. Are there any other affected holiday destinations?
The transcript does not mention any other affected holiday destinations apart from Rhodes and Corfu. However, it is essential to stay updated with travel advisories for any changes in the situation.