Cyprus honours Greek families that helped 1974 refugees

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A memorial plaque was unveiled at Limassol port to honour the Greek families who accommodated thousands of children from Cyprus after the 1974 Turkish invasion.

The plaque, at the passengers’ terminal, was unveiled by Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos, who spoke of the “selfless love, giving and solidarity” of the families who took these children in their homes and provided food and shelter to them for some years.

The first ship, “Patras”, with refugee children from Cyprus, left Limassol port on September 21, 1974, with 456 children onboard, aged 6-17.

This was an initiative by Ilia Bishopric in Greece. As a result, three more groups of children followed, and their number reached more than 2.000 during the school year of 1974-1975.

Karousos said that refugee families also found shelter in Greece and were given accommodation by local authorities, but the numbers are not precise.

These children were provided accommodation across Greece — Athens, Thessaloniki, Kavala, Komotini, Ioannina, Mesolongi, Volos, Patras, Zakynthos, Tripoli, Crete, Chios, and Ilia.

Karousos said it was now Cyprus’ turn to provide accommodation and assistance to hundreds of children from Ukraine.

Limassol mayor Nicos Nicolaides expressed his gratitude for what Greece offered to children who flew the island because of the invasion.

Head of the initiative group for the accommodation of children in Greece, Andreas Theodosiou, remembered how hard it was for small children to leave their families behind for a better life.