23 Sep 2015
The volunteer group ‘Cypriots Helping Syrian Refugees’ met on Tuesday in Nicosia at the City Plaza to start packing donated items to be sent to refugees on the Greek island of Kos.
The Mayor of Nicosia, Constantinos Yiorkadjis, former First Lady and EU Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou and head of EU Commission Representation George Markopouliotis, were at a press conference at the City Plaza on Tuesday morning organised by ‘Cypriots Helping Syrian Refugees.’
Androulla Vassiliou said: “Through great initiative the volunteers have helped people donate a large amount of items to be sent to the refugees in Greece, we thank all those who have helped.”
Vassiliou added: “We mustn’t forget that as Cypriots when many of us became refugees the world gave a helping hand. We know how it feels to have no choice but to leave your country.”
The Charity has been running for just over two-weeks and has seen many selfless individuals such as the organiser Rosie Charalambous give up free hours in their day to help sort and pack hundreds of donated items.
The response has been extremely good so much so that Rosie urged people “to donate baby carriers, sleeping bags, back packs and waterproof clothing instead of t-shirts and trousers as there are now plenty of donated cloth items.”
George Markopouliotis stressed what a ‘massive and unprecedented crisis’ the current situation is in Greece, where for many Syrian refugees the Greek island’s of Kos and Lesbos are landing points into mainland Europe.
Markopouliotis said: “The current refugee crisis is one we have not seen since WWII. It is encouraging though to know that Cyprus is helping to lighten the strain of this refugee crisis from other EU countries.”
The EU commissioner further noted that ‘the influx of refugees into Europe will not unfortunately disappear anytime soon’.
Cyprus is being active in helping with the refugee problem across Europe. Many of the refugees are from Syria and are fleeing war and oppression.
The Mayor of Nicosia, Constantios Yiorkadjis, said: “It is great that Cyprus is helping the rest of Europe especially Greece as a European country we have a responsibility to help.”
Yiorkadjis added that “Europe could have done more to help the situation much quicker than what it did, but now is not the time to play the blame game and a solution must be found”.
Citizens have been donating items and helping to sort and pack them however the job is huge and more volunteers are needed to help get through the piles as soon as possible.
The unit in City Plaza, located in the basement, in Nicosia on Makarios Avenue will be open every week day from 10am to 12 am and then from 5pm to 7pm. Volunteers are requested to help pack the donated items.
Any items that are deemed unsuitable to be sent to Kos for the Syrian refugees will be donated to Nicosia Municipality or to charity shops in order to help needy people on the island.