Large number of Greek-Cypriot refugees have been arriving in Piraeus Harbour in Athens from Cyprus on the few ships that still sail between the island and the mainland.
Large number of Greek-Cypriot refugees have been arriving in Piraeus Harbour in Athens from Cyprus on the few ships that still sail between the island and the mainland. The exodus is expected to become a flood if a start is not made soon on rebuilding the island's shattered economy.
Cyprus has a population of 270,000, but at the moment two hundred thousand of those people are without jobs. The lucky few who are still working are having to accept half pay.
The refugees also say that they have left the island to escape Turkish ill treatment, and to seek the security of the Greek mainland. They form a cross-section of the island's uprooted population, including poor peasant men and women, priests, children and better professional people.
Many of the refugees who wee no future in returning to Cyprus, hope to emigrate to Britain, Australia, the United States, or other countries.
Most of the poor people who arrive in Piraeus on cargo ships, coasters, and ferries, have barely been able to raise the minimum fare. In most cases it costs eighteen Cyprus pounds, but for that they are not provided with either a bed or meals. Passengers without cabins on the larger ships, usually spend the two nights of the crossing in the saloons and on the deck.
As the refugees arrive, ships in another part of the harbour are being loaded with provisions and aid for the refugees still left in camps on Cyprus. The transportation and supply of aid from Athens is being organised by the Greek Orthodox Church, led by the Primate of Greece, Archbishop Seraphim.
On Thursday (29 August) the Archbishop visited the harbour to see how the loading operation was being carried out. During his visit, he said he hoped that peace would return to Cyprus, and that the refugees would be able to return to their homes. "Let's hope that justice will prevail in the drama of Cyprus" said the Archbishop.