Some 70 Cypriots will be flown in from Lebanon on Thursday evening after losing their homes and businesses in a deadly blast that killed hundreds and destroyed a large part of Beirut on Tuesday.
The flight is scheduled to leave Cyprus at 7pm with medical supplies for Lebanon and return at approximately 8:30pm with the Cypriots who were permanent residents in the stricken neigbouring country.
According to Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides, due to coronavirus protocols and since Lebanon is a category C country, people on the flight will be tested and then taken to hotel for a 14-day quarantine if it is necessary.
Speaking to CyBC’s morning radio broadcast, Christodoulides added a second flight would be arranged if there are more Cypriots in Beirut wishing to return.
Commenting further later in the day, foreign ministry permanent secretary, Cornelios Corneliou, said Cyprus is also planning on sending a volunteer medical team as well.
“It is moving to see the interest shown by private entities, businesspeople and others to help the Lebanese people one way or another,” he said.
Of the damage to the building housing the Cypriot embassy and the ambassador’s residence, he said they were extensive.
Cyprus has so far dispatched two helicopters with rescue crews and dogs to Beirut.
Specifically, five firefighters and eight specially trained policemen with rescue dogs were sent to help look for survivors in the rubble of the blast.