UNHCR will support Cyprus to improve humanitarian efforts
Cypriot authorities took the necessary measures to ensure the reception of 93 Syrian refugees, who were rescued off the coast of Pyrgos on Friday night, and address their immediate needs, UNHCR Cyprus said in a statement, expressing its appreciation to the Republic of Cyprus for the swift rescue-at-sea.
UNHCR expressed its readiness to support the Republic of Cyprus to develop contingency and preparedness plans to better respond to situations of pressure from possible increased arrivals of refugees and asylum-seekers.
It noted that "at a time when thousands of people lose their lives in the Mediterranean Sea in their desperation to find safety in Europe, the Cypriot authorities should be commended for their efficient and professional response in saving lives in distress at sea. No deaths or missing persons have been reported during the 12 boat arrivals of refugees in Cyprus over the last two years," it added.
Furthermore it said that "although Cyprus has received an increased number of Syrian refugees since the onset of the Syrian conflict, this is a manageable situation when seen in light of the magnitude of the conflict and destruction that has forced almost 5 million Syrian refugees to flee their homes and seek protection in other countries, mostly in the neighbouring countries."
“In an era during which refugees need our support more than ever, it is important that all democratic States, including Cyprus, continue to provide protection to people who are forced to flee war and persecution in a spirit of solidarity and collaboration,” said Damtew Dessalegne, the UNHCR Representative for Cyprus.