In light of the recent wildfires that took place in Rhodes, Greece in July 2023, our client, NSO Group, a cyber intelligence firm, reached out to International SOS for evacuation support. Our on-the-ground security experts and network of credentialed providers have been at the forefront in supporting their people directly impacted by the wildfires.
While on holiday in Rhodes, a member of the NSO Group’s Board of Directors, alongside their immediate family, and four others, were caught in the wildfires Lindos on 22 July 2023.
International SOS received a call for support from their Global Security Director to help relocate this group of 15 travellers who were in immediate danger of being stranded and potentially harmed by the wildfires.
As the wildfires rapidly encroached closer to the accommodation where the group was staying, they initially followed the directives of the Greek authorities and were moved south to a town called Gennadi. However, the group left in a panicked state and had to abandon all their possessions. They also had nowhere to stay once they had been relocated.
"As the security department, it was our Duty of Care to initiate a swift and
effective security response to ensure our people’s safety. The first point of
contact in such situations is always International SOS. Their team's support
became instrumental in managing the situation."
- Global Security Director, NSO Group
Through real-time security support from our in-house security experts at the London Security Centre, International SOS was able to help them via our credentialed on-the-ground security partner in Greece. In the first instance, crisis communication channels were established to maintain constant contact with the travellers, ensuring their wellbeing and sharing regular updates on the evolving situation. Through our in-depth reporting and analysis across our 26 Assistance Centres, we were then able to proactively inform them when the wildfires were in their vicinity, and that the Greek authorities had issued an evacuation notice for their area.
After being alerted that the police had closed the roads connecting the north and the south of the island, we planned for the eventuality of them needing an evacuation via speedboat. After arriving safely at Rhodes Airport by bus our on-the-ground representatives personally met the travellers and transferred them to a pre-arranged, safe accommodation. This ensured their immediate comfort and safety while alleviating any additional concerns. Logistical arrangements were also in place to retrieve all individuals’ luggage from their original accommodation in Lindos. To further streamline the evacuation journey, International SOS arranged ground transfers from their accommodation back to the airport the following day to return home. We also provided emotional support to the group during what was an exceptionally high-stress time.
With over 35 years of experience in handling evacuations, combined with a global network of providers, all travellers were able to safely depart the island via commercial flights from Rhodes Airport the following day.
The comprehensive support provided by International SOS to these travellers during unexpected, challenging situations is a testament to the Duty of Care the organisation has established towards their travellers. The successful evacuation operation and on-the-ground security assistance exemplified International SOS’s expertise in managing a crisis to safeguard the security and wellbeing of our clients.