The European Commission said on Thursday it had granted nearly €1 million in additional emergency funding to Cyprus to address the mass arrival of Syrian nationals
The exact amount €0.98 million – would come from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) to support the country in providing accommodation, every day basic needs and medical care to the almost 400 Syrian nationals rescued in Cyprus’ territorial waters in September last year.
Funding will be provided for a period of four months and measures will focus on their initial screening, provision of food and other basic needs, vehicle rental for their transportation, healthcare, interpretation and psycho-social support, a statement from the Commission said.
“The provision of emergency assistance under the AMIF is part of the Commission’s overall efforts to implement the principle of solidarity through concrete and effective actions addressing urgent and specific needs of Member States facing high asylum and migratory pressure,” it said.
To this end, for 2014 and 2015, the Commission has put aside a total of €50 million which will be delivered through the AMIF. The Commission’s emergency funding comes on top of the regular AMIF funds that Member States receive for the implementation of their national programmes for the period 2014-2020 – in the case of Cyprus a basic amount of € 32.31 million.
Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Commissioner Avramopoulos said, “I am happy to announce that, in the framework of the new funding mechanisms put in place by the Commission to support EU countries confronted with increasing asylum and migratory pressure, we are making almost €1 million available to the Cypriot authorities. This emergency funding will help the Cypriot authorities to manage the unanticipated arrival of a number of Syrian nationals.”
Earlier this month those left from the 337 rescued, had to leave the temporary camp the government had provided for them at Kokkinotrimithia, outside Nicosia. The vast majority had either left Cyprus by some other means, or had applied for asylum and were taken to the Kophinou reception centre. Around 100 left the camp on the day it was being dismantled. They were given a small stipend and taken to Nicosia by bus. Some were offered shelter by a Nicosia church group until they could make some decisions.
The Cyprus Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has urged the refugees to apply for asylum as a best guarantee to ensure their international protection.