Turkish Cypriot authorities will this week distribute humanitarian aid to enclaved Greek Cypriots and Maronites escorted by Unficyp staff, Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou said on Tuesday.
The aid is distributed weekly to the enclaved by Unficyp, but after Turkish Cypriot authorities announced last Sunday they would not allow UN personnel or those holding diplomatic papers cross into the north for a week, other arrangements were made. The temporary ban followed the announcement by Unficyp last Friday confirming the first coronavirus case amongst its peacekeeping personnel.
“We are working closely with both sides to put in place alternative arrangements to ensure that humanitarian deliveries will take place as planned,” Unficyp spokesperson Aleem Siddique told the Cyprus Mail.
Photiou told the Cyprus News Agency that food supplies and medicine would reach Kormakitis on Tuesday while on Wednesday, medicine and benefits would be distributed to beneficiaries in the Karpas peninsula.
According to Photiou, following the restrictions imposed by the Turkish Cypriots, this week, authorities there would collect the aid at the crossing point and distribute to the Maronite village of Kormakitis.
Sources told the Cyprus Mail that the delivery of the humanitarian aid would be monitored by Unficyp staff who are Turkish Cypriots.
The aid to villages in the Karpas peninsula will be distributed in a similar way, Photiou said. Along with medicine, milk and baby food, beneficiaries will also receive their pensions and allowances for March and April.
Some of the villages in the Karpas are still under quarantine for the second week, including Yialousa, after a number of coronavirus cases was detected in the area.
Photiou said that according to the information they have, quarantine measures are expected to be lifted on Thursday and beneficiaries will have no problem cashing their cheques then. If this is not the case, then there will be other arrangements to facilitate them, he said. Earlier reports said that the government was also mulling over distributing cash in envelopes if the enclaved could not reach a bank due to the quarantine.
Photiou also said that an extraordinary allowance, approved by cabinet last week to assist the enclaved and those who resettled in the area due to the state of quarantine, will be distributed next Wednesday, after Orthodox Easter, with the next humanitarian convoy.