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Cyprus

Cabinet orders review of crisis management

Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides

The cabinet on Tuesday ordered a review of crisis management plans with a view to drafting a unified strategy, updating current procedures and plugging any gaps where necessary.

Following a recommendation from Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides relating to the handling of volunteers by the volunteerism commissioner and civil defence, President Nicos Anastasiades proposed that all studies and plans concerning fires and other natural disasters be reviewed and updated.

A ministerial committee made up by the ministers of interior, defence, justice, and agriculture, has been tasked with looking into the matter and hiring consultants who will prepare a unified strategy of crisis management, update existing schemes and plug any holes.

The decision came on the heels of a deadly fire in Greece that claimed the lives of at least 91 people, with dozens still missing.

It has also been two years since a fire in the Solea area of the Troodos mountains, which killed two firefighters and destroyed over 18.5 square kilometres of forest.

Cypriot authorities have since taken some measures to avoid a repeat of the debacle, but there are still dated issues relating to jurisdiction and authority that must be addressed. One such matter is that of the interior minister being in charge of coordinating firefighting efforts, something the current minister is understood to want changed.

Deputy government spokesperson Klelia Vasiliou said the authorities are not resting despite the steps made in the past two years.

“We must become even better. The study will show the ways through which we can have a more effective utilization of the available means and resources, ensuring our country’s best interest,” she said.

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