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Cyprus sends first medical supplies to Syria

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The first shipment of medicines to earthquake-stricken Syria was sent on Thursday via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism via a Cyprus Airways flight to Beirut.

From Beirut, the shipment will be transported to Syria under the responsibility of the European Civil Protection Mechanism.

Local pharmaceutical company Medochemie donated the medicines.

On Friday, another shipment of pharmaceuticals donated by the Ministry of Health will also depart for Beirut.

Meanwhile, the humanitarian aid collected across Cyprus is being gathered with the help of the National Guard and transported to Limassol port.

The campaign, conducted with the Civil Defence, the Red Cross and local government, ends Friday.

The Office of the Commissioner for the Citizen said the people’s response has been moving as a large quantity of clothing, foodstuff and personal hygiene items have been collected.

All items will be packaged for Syria and Turkey and loaded onto ships.

Cyprus Airways said it had transported approximately 13 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Syria earthquake victims on a special flight to Beirut.

Many more tonnes of aid are being transported on its scheduled flights.

It included about 10 tonnes of medical supplies, about 100 cases of baby food, and other collected goods to support the victims of the recent disastrous earthquake.

Cyprus Airways has offered its planes to charities and organisations for transporting goods, medicines, rescue teams, or equipment.

“Mostly clothes, food and blankets will be transported in the coming days.”

Captain Andy Georgiou, COO at Cyprus Airways, said: “It is with great sadness that we see the tragedy unfolding around us.

“That is why our company has taken the initiative to carry out this extra flight in which we are transporting medical supplies and essentials that will be used by medical and nursing staff in their daily effort to save and treat the earthquake victims.

UN help

The first UN truck with humanitarian aid donated by Cypriots was loaded Friday for onward transport to Turkey in cooperation with Turkish Cypriot relief efforts.

The aid was collected by the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and is being sent to earthquake victims in Turkey.

UNFICYP started accepting humanitarian aid at Ledra Palace hotel, through the Fulbright gates, on February 12.

Major Gavin Randell said: “For the last few days, we have been receiving supplies from local people and local agencies, and today we are loading them onto the trucks to be able to transport them to the Turkish Cypriot authorities, who will be able to take them where they are needed most.”

“We have received more than 100 boxes of supplies.

“More than half of them are blankets, and about a quarter of them are clothes. The rest is food and sanitary supplies for babies as well.”

It is estimated that the humanitarian aid collected is about two tonnes.

Randell said these are all important and truly critical supplies desperately needed in Turkey and Syria.

Asked to comment on the fact that the breakaway north would not accept help from the Republic, Randell said: “As UNFICYP, we are really happy to serve all the people of Cyprus, and we are really here to make sure the supplies get to where they are needed the most.”