PRESIDENT Nicos Anastasiades signed the book of condolences on Thursday opened at the Italian Ambassador’s residence for the more than 290 victims of the earthquake that struck the town of Amatrice in central Italy last week.
“On behalf of the government and the people of Cyprus, I would like to express to the government and people of Italy, as well as the bereaved families, our most sincere condolences, and to all those affected by the devastating earthquake a speedy recovery. In this difficult time, Cyprus is ready to provide assistance and support in Italy to overcome the terrible consequences of this natural disaster,” the president’s message said.
Italy is a friendly country to Cyprus, the president said. He added that Cyprus had offered its assistance right after the earthquake, but that the Italian authorities said they could handle the situation.
“The Italian government thought they had the capacity, and they do, thus our contribution was not needed. The least we can do, however, is to express our sympathy to all the victims and our deepest condolences to their families,” president Anastasiades said.
Ambassador Guido Cerboni expressed his gratitude for the solidarity and sympathy of the Cypriot government and the people.
Since the first hours of the earthquake, Cerboni told the Cyprus News Agency that Nicosia offered to send help, which was ultimately not needed as the emergency services and the authorities were in a position to cope.
He expressed, however, his warmest thanks and gratitude for the support and for the condolence messages the embassy received. “It is important this solidarity and friendship we experienced on behalf of Cyprus,” Cerboni told the CNA.
He said that now the situation is under control and authorities are focusing on providing shelter to those affected by the earthquake, as it will take a long time to rebuild.
Cerboni said that people are staying temporarily in tents, while the aim is to provide makeshift housing before November.
He added that it is also important for the cultural heritage of the whole of Italy to rebuild the place, as there were monuments and buildings of enormous importance, he said.