Cyprus Mail

Excavations to begin at Athalassa hospital next week

Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs Photis Photiou

EXCAVATIONS at Athalassa hospital are set to begin next week, Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs Photis Photiou said on Wednesday.

Speaking during the House Committee session, he said the excavations will begin on Wednesday “where our compatriots have been buried for 43 years.”

Asked on the number of fallen soldiers following air raids by the Turkish air force during the 1974 Turkish invasion, he said there were 33.

“Two nurses have already been buried and there are 31 people there, two of which are Turkish Cypriot. There may be more. No one knows.”

Measures had to be taken as there were risks of asbestos contamination, Photiou said which were the cause of delays.

“It is not a big problem, based on what we can see from the lab results and we can proceed, taking all the necessary measures.”

Committee chairman Zacharias Zachariou said out of the 1,508 missing persons, 900 are still being looked for.

“There is difficulty in obtaining information. We had a problem and we continue to have a problem with the archives of the Turkish military that may help us find a lot more.”

UN archives were given to Cyprus last year, but Turkey should move forward to help, Zachariou added so positive results could be reached.

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