The need for cooperation between all stakeholders and services with the aim to prevent but also put out fires, was stressed on Wednesday by House President Annita Demetriou during a ceremony to unveil a memorial dedicated to the four Egyptian men who died during the wildfires last July in the area of Odou village in Larnaca district.

In her address, Demetriou expressed her “deep sorrow” and said that, apart from the massive ecological disaster and the material damage, the greatest grief is caused, by the loss of four lives, of the young Egyptian workers who worked in tomato plantations and were burnt alive while on duty. The memorial was erected on the initiative of the Odou community council.

She also said that the wildfires that erupted on July 3 last year and were raging for two days, were the most destructive recorded since the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus. The fire broke out in the village of Arakapas in the mountainous Limassol area and spread to other villages of the area including of the Larnaca district.

Demetriou said the fire caused four deaths and burnt 67 square kilometres of land, including residences, vehicles, businesses and crops.

The House President called for this painful experience to turn into a positive force of change so that the environment is promoted as a political priority goal. She also called for a change of behaviour of each individual who must realise that ecological disasters by negligence or intentional acts are not allowed.

As the risk of fires still lurks in Cyprus, she added, everyone must focus on prevention and better cooperation of all agencies and services involved in firefighting. She also said that Cyprus’ Recovery and Resilience Plan includes a fund for the purchase of aircraft and the improvement of forest firefighting capabilities.

Egypt’s Ambassador to Cyprus was also present at the ceremony.

Demetriou said that the relations between Egypt and Cyprus are strengthened as never before and that the House of Representatives will try at the parliamentary level to further strengthen the effort of the two countries to tackle common challenges and strategies.

Leave a Reply