Source AP ©

Cypriot president visits Greek mountain village ravaged by forest fires

Cypriot government has promised a Greek mountain village ravaged by summer forest fires millions of euros to rebuild. Tassos Papadopoulos, Cypriot President, visited that village on Wednesday.

Artemida was among the places worst hit by fires that ravaged southern Greece. More than 20 people died in the village on one August afternoon including a mother and four children.

Cyprus has pledged 8 million Cyprus pounds (€13.8 million, US$20.3 million) for rebuilding and Papadopoulos said the money should all be distributed by April 2009.

He said Cypriots, thousands of whom were displaced when Turkey invaded in 1974, identified with the victims of the fire.

"We in Cyprus know what you went through and what you are going through," he said. "We well know what it means to lose your possessions, your houses, your loved ones, your animals, your sources of income ... that's why we lived every moment of the catastrophe with you."

Cyprus remains divided into an internationally recognized republic, headed by Papadopoulos, and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot entity recognized only by Turkey.

The August fires in Greece killed more than 65 people and destroyed 170,000 hectares (420,000 acres) of forest and agricultural land and thousands of buildings and homes.

Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos Wednesday visited a Greek mountain village by summer forest fires that his government has promised millions of euros to rebuild.

Artemida was among the places worst hit by fires that ravaged southern Greece. More than 20 people died in the village on one August afternoon including a mother and four children.

Cyprus has pledged 8 million Cyprus pounds (€13.8 million, US$20.3 million) for rebuilding and Papadopoulos said the money should all be distributed by April 2009.

He said Cypriots, thousands of whom were displaced when Turkey invaded in 1974, identified with the victims of the fire.

"We in Cyprus know what you went through and what you are going through," he said. "We well know what it means to lose your possessions, your houses, your loved ones, your animals, your sources of income ... that's why we lived every moment of the catastrophe with you."

Cyprus remains divided into an internationally recognized republic, headed by Papadopoulos, and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot entity recognized only by Turkey.

The August fires in Greece killed more than 65 people and destroyed 170,000 hectares (420,000 acres) of forest and agricultural land and thousands of buildings and homes.