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Cyprus President sends condolences to quake stricken countries
2004-12-27 10:13:13

Nicosia, Dec 27 (CNA) -- Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has been sending letters of condolences to the governments of the countries where up to 21 thousand people were killed during a tsunami that slammed into coasts from India to Indonesia.

During a press conference today, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said as soon as news of the death of people from the waves unleashed from the world’s biggest earthquake in 40 years came out, President Papadopoulos immediately contacted the crisis centre which was set up at the Foreign Ministry. There are more than 160 Cypriots in these countries with around 40 of them still unaccounted for.

The Foreign Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Sotos Zackheos said that in many cases people were able to talk to Cypriots on their mobiles but became disconnected when their mobiles had lost signal.

“The government is doing everything possible to protect Cypriot citizens in the areas and to grant them every assistance to return to their country”, Chrysostomides added.

The Foreign Ministry’s Permanent Secretary told the press conference the ministry has been in constant communication with the Greek Foreign Ministry which has chartered a plane to Phuket, Thailand, to secure the return of all Greek nationals. The same plane was scheduled to take to Athens any Cypriot nationals who came forward to the Thai airport, even if their travel documents have been lost.

Zackheos also said that travel agents in Cyprus are making efforts to transfer home their clients from the affected areas.

Meanwhile, Zackheos said that MP Eleni Theocharous, speaking on behalf of the Doctors of the World, informed the Ministry that three Cypriot doctors will leave for Sri Lanka on Wednesday.

He said the Council of Ministers will examine the amount of the humanitarian aid which Cyprus will offer to the countries that have been hit.

The Ministry provided the telephone number of the Thailand Foreign Ministry for information on foreign nationals. The number is 006622417450. The telephone number of Greece’s Embassy in Bangkok is 006626791462.

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