An acclaimed author is to become one of Ireland’s first known so-called climate migrants.
Andrea Busfield is selling her villa in Cyprus as the weather has become too extreme for her and her three horses, five dogs and four cats.
The 53-year-old former war correspondent plans to relocate to Ireland next year from her home overlooking Peyia, Paphos.
She has chosen Tipperary or Cork because she wants to find a suitable home for her horses, and one where they can graze in green, open fields, a luxury that is increasingly unavailable to them in the scorching Cyprus sun.
Busfield, who covered the war in Afghanistan and the fall of the Taliban in 2001, and has since written a string of books, decided after enduring yet another record summer with soaring temperatures.
As an English national, she is moving under the Common Travel Area between Ireland and the UK, the provisions of which continue despite the fact the UK has left the EU.
“I love Cyprus, and I don’t want to leave, but the worsening climate has scared me,” she said.
“It has just become an increasingly more difficult place to live for all my animals, but the biggest drive for change is my horses.
“I want them to live like horses, grazing in open fields and enjoying the kind of freedom they simply don’t get here.
Ironically, Busfield left Austria — where she had lived for three years — to move to Cyprus because she was tired of Austria’s notoriously long winters.
Before living in Austria, she lived and worked in Kabul, Afghanistan, from 2005 until 2008.
After three years in Austria, she moved to Cyprus in May 2012, aged 42, where she has lived ever since.
While working in Afghanistan as a civilian editor for publications run by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), she authored her best-selling book Born Under a Million Shadows.
It was followed by several other books, including Aphrodite’s War and The Silence of Stone.
“The climate of Cyprus was, and to a large extent still is, very, very good for what I do, which is spending most of my time outdoors riding horses.”
“There’s only, usually, four or five weeks in the summer where it gets uncomfortable, but this period seems to be getting longer, and there are three or four weeks in the winter where it can get pretty miserable because the houses aren’t built for the wet and cold of winter.
“But pretty much every other time, it’s a great climate.
“There is also a great quality of life, the coast has the cleanest bathing waters in Europe, and there is lots to do outside.
A lot to offer
“Cyprus really has a lot to offer, and it has a wealth of history, which makes it a fascinating and beautiful country, especially if you like lemons.”
But while the weather is — for the most part — good, it’s noticeably changing for the worst, she said.
“It’s getting much hotter for longer periods,” she told the Irish Examiner.
“I think July just smashed all records.
“To be honest, it is not so much the very high temperatures; it’s the sheer volume of consecutive days of really high temperatures.
“There’s increasingly no let-up, and Paphos is incredibly humid. That’s the thing that increasingly gets you.
“We’re not the hottest region of Cyprus, but the humidity is appalling. It can get up to 94% on occasion.
“It’s very uncomfortable, it’s not nice for the dogs, it’s not nice for me, and it’s not nice for the horses.
“I’m hearing of more and more people now leaving Cyprus because — to some extent — of the weather.
“It is also worth adding that we do also get a lot of fires here, and things are just starting to feel a lot more intense than they used to be.
“I have to say that the air force and the firefighters are absolutely brilliant.”
She said that while ever-soaring temperatures may not always cause the fires, the heat makes the land drier and increases the fire risk.
“When the wind gets up, these fires can be very, very difficult to stop, and that is what frightens me.
“Property is just property and the big dogs I can bundle into a car and get them away.
“But the horses are in a yard with 60 other horses, and the only thing you could do is open the gates and let them run and then hope for the best.
She wants to move to Ireland because she has started to look at various properties in and around Tipperary and Cork — she has seen what she would love to live in for herself and which also has space for all her animals, particularly her horses.
The horses are a 16-year-old retired thoroughbred racehorse called Lucky, a 12-year-old Andalusian mare named Mina and a four-year-old Hanoverian warmblood called Sundance.
Her dogs include Sylvia, from the Kabul Small Animal Rescue charity in Afghanistan. (source Irish Examiner)