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Volunteer commission takes over huge aid response to Greek fires

Volunteer Commissioner Yiannakis Yiannaki during a charity collection drive

By Lizzy Ioannidou

The Volunteer Commission on Wednesday sought to dispel confusion among the public eager to send donations to Greece to aid victims of the wildfires that have killed 80 people and left hundreds missing.

As the death toll climbed all day Tuesday, the response in Cyprus became overwhelming from organisations, political parties, NGOs, trade unions and municipalities, all issuing separate announcements and causing confusion for some members of the public as to where was the best place to donate.

The trend continued on Wednesday but the volunteer commission took a centralised role and is now organising Pancyprian efforts along with a number of NGOs. It has confirmed three collection points in Nicosia and one in each of the other towns, all of which will be collecting on Wednesday and Thursday.

Donations should include non-refrigerated foods, long-life milk, covers, blankets, clothing, shoes, dry food, diapers and baby wipes, as well as the medical items Fucidin, Betadine and gauzes.

Collection points in Nicosia:

Strovolos municipality 9 am-2 pm: Tel. 22470470

Lakatamia municipality 9 am-4 pm: Tel. 22364000

Cyprus Sports Organisation (KOA), Tassos Papadopoulos Stadium10 am-5 pm: Tel. 22897231

Collection points in other cities:

Larnaca: Municipal Ageing Centre Melathron 9am-1pm and 3pm-6pm: Tel. 24652429, 99817979

Paphos: Volunteerism Coordinative Council District Offices 10am-5 pm: Tel. 26953725

Limassol: Deputy Ministry of Shipping, Yioupis Tower (Address: Ioannis Prodromou, 4002 Mesa Gitonia, Limassol), 8am-5pm: Tel. 25 804900

Paralimni: Kentro Prosforas kai Agapis, Agios Christoforos 10am-5pm: Tel. 23 741621

Financial contributions can sent to the following bank account:

Municipality of Pikermi-Rafina: Piraeus Bank: Account: 5186092291418 and IBAN: GR20 0172 1860 0051 8609 2291 418.

Volunteer Commissioner Yiannis Yiannaki said the boxes collected by Thursday will be sorted and transported to Larnaca airport and then to Athens from where they will be distributed to those in need. “After Thursday, we will check what else needs to be done,” he told the Cyprus Mail.

But the needs of the Attica wildfire victims are already constantly changing. The Hellenic Rescue Team, an NGO based in Thessaloniki has announced that food needs have been superseded by the need for other items. The group said the list would be updated as needed.

The updated list includes sanitary items, bed linen, underwear, detergents, disposable masks and gloves, Vaseline, Fucidin, gauzes, sterile gauzes, electronic blood pressure monitors, antiseptics, AA and AAA batteries, pain killers, tweezers and disposable aprons.

The ministry of health, in consultation with the volunteer commissioner has announced that the most essential pharmaceutical products had already been sent to Athens. “As early as Monday night, I contacted the Greek minister of health and expressed our intention to help us in whatever way we are asked for,” health minister Constantinos Ioannou said. Ioannou also sent a message from the medical and nursing staff of Cyprus, who have said they were ready to send volunteers.

There has been a wave of solidarity, not only in material but also in financial terms, from Cyprus. In addition to €10m from the cabinet, €200,000 was donated by the Church of Cyprus, which is also organising a fundraiser in churches across the island on Sunday.

The Nicosia municipality has made a contribution of €1,000 to the account opened by the Union of Cyprus Municipalities while €100,000 was contributed to the Hellenic Red Cross by the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation.

The Republican Turkish Party (CTP) in the north has also called on the Turkish-Cypriot community to offer any aid they can by donating essential necessities. According to Yeniduzen, the collection will be held until Friday at the party’s offices until 2pm and the donations handed over to the Greek Cypriot side.

Urgent blood donations have also been requested by the blood bank in order to create stocks that can be ready if needed. “If the stocks are not required, they can help meet the needs of Cypriot patients,” the blood bank said.

Anyone wishing to donate blood can do so at the Engomi blood station at the Engomi health centre in Nicosia weekdays from 7.30am to 8pm, Saturday 8am to 2pm, as well as at the blood banks of the general hospitals of Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos and Famagusta daily from 7.30am to 2pm.

 

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