Cyprus to compensate families of Egyptian victims of wildfire

Nicosia (AFP) –


Cyprus is to pay compensation to the families of the four Egyptian farm labourers who died in the island’s wildfire at the weekend, the interior minister announced Wednesday.

The cabinet approved a budget of over 5.2 million euros ($6.1 million) to compensate people who lost their homes and businesses in the blaze, including families of the four Egyptians aged 24 to 36.

One of the Egyptians was a father of three, and another victim had four children.

Extending his condolences to their families, Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said they would receive 95,000 euros each and an additional €30,000 for each child.

Nouris said provisions would also be made for the Egyptian victims’ children to be granted scholarships at higher education institutions in Cyprus when they finish school.

The deadly wildfire raged for two days before it was brought under control on Monday.

Fanned by strong winds, the blaze broke out Saturday and swept through southern parts of the Troodos mountain range before being reined in by water bombing by Greek and Israeli aircraft.

The fire, described as the worst since the independence of Cyprus in 1960, destroyed nearly 100 homes and businesses, damaged power lines and forced the evacuation of 10 villages.

The four Egyptians died trying to escape the village of Odos, where they worked on a tomato plantation.

A 67-year-old farmer was arrested and remanded in custody on suspicion of causing the blaze, a charge he has denied.