Cypriot President Pledges Fire-ravaged Greek village Will be Rebuilt in a Year
Artemida, Nov 28 – Residents and local authorities of the southern Greek village of Artemida warmly welcomed Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos during his visit to the area on Wednesday. This Greek community was badly hit during this summer’s catastrophic forest fires and the Cypriot government has undertaken to rebuild it.
''We know what it means to lose property, homes, livestock and means of support,'' Papadopoulos told the residents of Artemida village in the Peloponnese peninsula southwest of Athens. “We know what being a refugee means and we know what destruction is”, he said, adding that the decision of the people of Cyprus to reconstruct Artemida is the least that they can do for what Greece has done for Cyprus throughout the years.
Papadopoulos said he wanted to visit Artemida to see how efforts are underway to reconstruct the community and pledged that all deadlines will be kept noting that by the end of 2008, the Artemida community must be reconstructed and all sources of income restored. He also wished that with the completion of the Artemida project, the restoration of the Republic of Cyprus can also be celebrated because despite the great obstacles which the island is facing, with hard work, initiatives, faith and dedication we can achieve justice for the people of Cyprus.
Zacharo Mayor Pantelis Chronopoulos pointed out that the presence of President Papadopoulos in Artemida shows the sensitivity and compassion that the Greeks show at hard times. He also said the Zacharo Municipal Council declared President Papadopoulos an honorary citizen of the town.
Greece’s Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos thanked the government of Cyprus for its support, while his Cypriot counterpart Christos Patsalides expressed the readiness of the Republic of Cyprus to complete the project the soonest. He also said that the project would cost 14 million euro.
The village was among the communities hardest hit by the wildfires in August which burned down dozens of homes and thousands of hectares (acres) of farmland, killing at least 50 people in the surrounding area.
Thirteen locals died outside Artemida on August 24 after being trapped by flames while attempting to flee.