By Evie Andreou
The Cyprus Red Cross Society is looking for volunteers to help out at the Kokkinotrimithia refugee camp that hosts the majority of the 345 Syrians rescued off the coast in September.
The organisation is asking anyone over the age of 18 that has two to three hours to spare to help improve living conditions to volunteer.
“We have been there since day one to provide assistance and cover the needs of the Syrian refugees and it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our volunteers,” said Red Cross task force manager at the camp Georgos Frantzis.
The Red Cross has so far set up the camp, provided clothing, hygiene kits, communication with relatives abroad and family tracing. By implementing a series of psychosocial support activities, it is now moving to another phase.
Frantzis said the charity is expanding their activities at the camp, since the initial 20-day residence permit the refugees received was extended to 3 months.
“We were given a pre-fabricated building that will be used as a school so we need more people that can help organise focused group activities like teaching English, activities for children etc,” Frantzis said.
He added that people are also needed to help distribute warm clothes, shoes and hygiene kits, tidy up the storage facility and collect information.
He said that volunteers will receive a briefing before they go to the camp.
The refugees sailed from Syria and were headed to Italy when they found themselves in rough seas and had put out a distress signal. They were rescued by a cruise ship 50 nautical miles off the coast of Paphos.
They were temporarily transferred to the disused army barracks in Kokkinotrimithia, and their aim is to depart to other European countries, while a small number, mainly families, have already left.
The Syrians are entitled to travel to other countries, provided they get all the required visas, or apply for asylum in Cyprus. So far, only six have applied for asylum, three of whom are unaccompanied minors.
For more information contact the Red Cross volunteers’ coordinator Alexandra Verniers on 97759807 or [email protected]