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Cyprus observe three-minute silence
2005-01-05 10:42:18

Nicosia, Jan 5 (CNA) -- Cyprus observed today a three-minute silence at 1300 local time (1100 GMT) in memory of the thousands of victims of the strong earthquake and the huge tidal waves that have devastated Southeast Asia on 26 December.

''Officers at the Foreign Ministry have expressed their deep sorrow and sympathy to the victims of the earthquake in Southeast Asia by observing the three-minute silence,'' Ambassador Sotos Zahkeos, Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry, said.

Flags are flying at half mast at all public buildings throughout the day in a show of solidarity with the people of all the countries hit by the tsunami.

Cyprus is participating in this display of mourning along with the remaining 24 partners in the European Union, following a suggestion by the former Dutch EU presidency endorsed by the current holder of the six-monthly rotating presidency, Luxembourg.

The local branch of the Red Cross Society and other humanitarian organisations on the island, as well as various societies and associations and businesses, have launched campaigns to collect money for the purchase of drugs and medical supplies and foodstuff for the people of Southeast Asia.

Local municipalities cancelled their New Year's Eve celebrations and donated the funds destined for the festivities for people in need.

It is estimated that more than 150,000 Cyprus pounds has been donated so far (one Cyprus pound trades at around 1.5 US dollars).

The Cyprus Cabinet has approved 370,000 dollars in aid of the areas devastated by the southeast Asian tsunami.

The Cyprus Church has announced a donation of 5,000 Cyprus pounds and a fund-raising campaign was launched at churches around the island.

CNA, observing the silence, stopped its transmission for three minutes while public TV and radio followed suit and broadcast sombre classical music before resuming their normal programmes.

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