Cyprus Mail

Pleas for repairs to refugee estates falling on deaf ears, MPs say

Photo: CNA

A lack of coordination among government departments plus their indifference has resulted in refugee estates falling into disrepair, reducing the quality of life for those still living on them, lawmakers heard on Tuesday.

The estates were built for Greek Cypriots who had to flee the north in 1974.

House refugee committee chairwoman Skevi Koukouma said it was getting a bit monotonous that the issue kept cropping up for discussion every few months, yet nothing was being done about the maintenance of the houses and apartments.

“It seems that things have not gone ahead as decided at the last session,” she said, calling on the government and local councils to do their part.

The quality of people’s lives on refugee estates was deteriorating dramatically, she added, and it was necessary to examine how communities could have the appropriate programmes and support where young people exist, although the estates were now mostly populated by the elderly, she conceded.
Where kindergartens were utilised, most had closed either because the buildings were too dangerous or because they could not meet current standards. There were also issues of delinquency and cleanliness, describing the latter as “tragic in almost all refugee estates”.

“It is a crucial issue and repairs and support should be provided as soon as possible where and when problems arise,” she said.

Disy MP Mariella Aristidou said there was only indifference on the part of the interior ministry and the union of municipalities.

“There is a picture of abandonment in the estates,” she said.

Aristidou said even though the issue was raised in a major way a year ago with municipalities, especially as regards cleanliness, it has been met with indifference since.

The committee decided to send a letter to the interior ministry to arrange a meeting involving all relevant authorities.

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