27 July 2023

Message of solidarity in the face of the fires: World Heritage Cities unite in support of Rhodes, Dubrovnik and Sintra

In the face of the tragic fires affecting Rhodes in Greece, Dubrovnik in Croatia, Sintra in Portugal and other heritage cities, the Organization of World Heritage Cities expresses its profound solidarity with the communities affected. These regions of outstanding cultural and natural heritage have suffered unprecedented devastation as a result of the heat waves and destructive fires currently raging around the Mediterranean.

The city of Rhodes, a historic jewel in the eastern Mediterranean, has been severely hit by the flames. As of July 27, firefighters have been working tirelessly for 10 consecutive days to contain the blaze, which has ravaged thousands of hectares of surrounding forests and vegetation. In addition to the material damage, human lives have been lost, and we would like to express our deep sorrow for this loss.

On the other side of the Adriatic Sea, the area around the historic city of Dubrovnik in Croatia has also been hit by a fire threatening its inhabitants and heritage. Some 130 firefighters are on the scene, battling the flames.

In Sintra, Portugal, firefighters have been injured while trying to contain the fires threatening the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park.

It is our duty to mobilize and strengthen fire prevention measures, while raising awareness of the climate challenges we face. In this regard, the OWHC continues to actively work on developing an Assistance Program in case of Emergencies to better prepare member cities for various threats and support them in the aftermath of such catastrophes.

In these challenging times, solidarity is crucial, and it is with one voice that the member cities of the OWHC express their support for colleagues and fellow citizens affected by this disaster.