Nicosia, Cyprus — Reforestation of forest and farmland destroyed in a huge fire in the Troodos mountain range in June will begin by the middle of October, the Agriculture Minister announced yesterday.
Fotis Fotiou added that the cost for private landowners will be completely covered by the government, under the Agricultural Plan for 2007-2013.
There will also be immediate financial assistance to those whose homes have been damaged, he added.
Ten square kilometres of forest and farmland around the villages of Saittas, Pelendri and Kato Amiandos were wiped out on June 29. The tragedy has been described as possibly the worst forest fire to ever hit the island.
What was once a magnificent, vast forest range, rich in vegetation, giant trees, wild shrubs and lush orchards is now nothing more than ashes and burned trunks. Damage to the forest valleys may take a century to heal.
An out-of-season downpour in the Troodos area on August 26 provoked floods in Saittas, emphasising the damages caused by the fire.
Despite the governments efforts to deal with the land erosion provoked by the blaze, the area was still nowhere near equipped to deal with the sudden storm.
As a result, Minister Fotiou announced that works to deal with the erosion were being sped up.