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More refugees land in Kato Pyrgos (update 2)

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A total of 93 refugees have landed on the island after being spotted off the coast of Kato Pyrgos on Friday night.

The boat was spotted at around midnight about eight nautical miles off Kormakitis, heading towards Kato Pyrgos.

They were in an area known as Far Lake, a spokesman from police headquarters told the Cyprus News Agency.

Members of the force from the Kato Pyrgos station and from the Limnitis checkpoint went to the area where they found 93 refugees who had “illegally entered the Republlic”.

The refugees, 34 men, 17 women and 42 children, were initially taken to a centre in Kato Pyrgos where they were examined by medical personnel and were later taken by bus to Polis Chrysochous.

The boat is the 14th group of refugees to have landed on the island since September 2014, with a total of 948 people landing altogether.

From Polis Chrysochous they were then taken to the reception centre in Kokkinotrimithia on two buses, where they were then housed in 22 tents set up for them, civil defence chief Loucas Hadjimichael said.

During their stay, Hadjimichael said, they will be provided with items to make their time there as restful and warm as possible.

Such items include blankets and heaters, he added.

“All the refugees are in good health,” he said.

Their personal needs for clothing and shoes are covered by the civil defence in cooperation with the Red Cross, and no further aid by the public is required for the moment, the civil defence chief said.

The refugees will remain in Kokkinotrimithia until their medical checks are concluded, possibly from 48 to 72 hours, and then those whose political asylum applications are approved will be able to leave the centre.

The boat they were in was taken to fishing shelter in Kato Pyrgos.

A police report Saturday said two of the men, 43 and 32, were illegal immigrants, while a 50-year-old man was on the island’s stop-list. All three were arrested.

Kato Pyrgos mukhtar Nicos Kleanthous said the migrants arrived “in terrible condition, exhausted and wet”.

Kleanthous explained that the location of the village in north-western Cyprus favours the arrival of migrants, and called for the urgent manning of a port police station there as well as the creation of a proper reception centre for these people.

“Last night the health centre was overcrowded,” he said.

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