Cabinet approves €500,000 for earthquake victims

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On Wednesday, the Cabinet held a minute’s silence for the Turkish Cypriot victims of the deadly earthquakes in Turkey and Syria while approving disaster aid of €500,000 for both countries.

Acting government spokesperson Niovi Parisinou said: “President Nicos Anastasiades reiterated his sorrow and pain inflicted on the Turkish Cypriot community, expressing the government’s sincere condolences to their relatives”.

Cyprus mourns the loss of 48 Turkish Cypriot victims of the powerful earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

The last back-to-back funerals for 48 people in the north, including 24 children, who were in Turkey on a school volleyball trip when their hotel collapsed.

The children, aged 11 to 14, stayed at the Grand Isias hotel in Adiyaman when the deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake in southern Turkey struck on 6 February.

They were part of the team from Turkish Maarif College in occupied Famagusta that travelled to Adiyaman for the tournament with their trainers, teachers, and parents.

Parisinou said the government has also decided that Cyprus will donate €0.5 mln in aid to the victims in both countries, which would be made through the proper channels.

The government’s decision comes as the combined death toll in Turkey and Syria has climbed over 41,000, while many survivors are enduring near-freezing winter temperatures.

At night, the temperature dips to as low as -9C.

Millions of people are believed to have been left homeless by the devastation in cities in both countries.

Turkey’s vice president, Fuat Oktay, said more than 1 million people live in tent encampments.

The situation is even worse in Syria.

“As many as 5.3 million people in Syria may have been left homeless by the earthquake,” said Syria representative of the UN high commissioner for refugees, Sivanka Dhanapala.

A Cyprus-wide effort is ongoing to collect aid for the victims of the earthquakes, with aid to be sent to Turkey via the Turkish Cypriot authorities.

The national earthquake appeal ends on 17 February.