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Help amounting to €6m for fire-stricken villages

Υπουργός Εσωτερικών – Συνάντηση μ
File photo: Interior Minister Nicos Nouris

Fire-stricken villagers will receive help amounting to €6 million while an additional set of measures will aim at helping affected farmers, the Cabinet decided on Wednesday.

The decisions were presented by agriculture minister Costas Kadis and interior minister Nicos Nouris after Wednesday’s meeting.

So far, damages to 98 properties have been recorded as well as vehicles, farming equipment and machinery, among others, in the communities of Arakapas, Eptagonia, Ora, Ayioi Vavatsinias, Melini and Odou in mountainous Larnaca and Limassol, and Tala in Paphos.

Kadis said that €6 million in total will be set aside to help villagers whose homes, properties and vehicles were damaged, with individual grants calculated depending on the scale of damages suffered.

In addition, those whose places of work were affected will have their salaries and social insurance paid from July to September covered, Nouris said.

The measures announced by Nouris aim towards the immediate relief and support of farmers active in the communities of Ayioi Vavatsinias, Akapnou, Arakas, Vavatsinia, Dierona, Eptagonia, Melini, Odou, Ora and Sykopetra.

The first will be financial aid amounting to €3 million for professional, part time and amateur farmers to help them continue with their operations.

Each beneficiary will be entitled to between €10,000 and €30,000 to cover lost income as a result of the total or partial destruction of their produce and means of production, and also for the restoration or replacement of their infrastructure.

Furthermore, a grant of €100,000 will be given to Odou fruit and vegetable producers organisation “Vasiliki Gi” as most of its members, many of whom are young farmers, are active in the affected areas.

It was also announced that an emergency fund will be set up as part of the existing Regional Development Plan to support the rebuilding and upgrading of infrastructure where it has been destroyed.

This will support affected farmers whose sector is normally not included in the scheme, such as beekeepers, poultry farms, and greenhouses.

Nouris also said that his ministry would issue a decree for licensing of greenhouses that do not have a town planning/building permit so that they can participate in the emergency investment scheme to be announced by the agriculture ministry.

Kadis added that the forestry department and water development department are working with local authorities on drawing up plans for anti-corrosion and anti-flooding works.

In addition, the agriculture ministry’s environment department will clear the affected areas of waste left behind by the flames, with processing costs covered by the state.

Finally he said that an application is being drafted to ask for aid from the EU’s Solidarity Fund.

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