Top UN envoy offers world body’s assistance after deadly blast in Cyprus

Lisa Buttenheim, Special Representative to the Secretary-General for Cyprus

11 July 2011 – The United Nations envoy for Cyprus voiced sadness at the loss of life in the deadly explosion at a naval base in the south of the country earlier today, adding that the UN mission has offered to donate blood to help the injured and has cut electricity consumption after a power plant was damaged.

The blast occurred at the Evangelos Florakis naval base in Zygi in Cyprus’ southern coast this morning, according to a statement issued by the office of Lisa Buttenheim, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Cyprus, who is also the head of the UN peacekeeping mission there, known as UNFICYP.

“I have been in contact with President [Dimitris] Christofias to express the deep concern of the United Nations and to offer our assistance,” said Ms. Buttenheim.

The blast at an ammunitions dump in the naval base left at least 12 people dead and injured 30 others, according to press reports, which added that the explosion may have been ignited by spreading brushfires.

As a first step, UNFICYP has reduced its consumption of electricity and water across its operations following the extensive damage suffered by the power plant near the naval base that had resulted in large-scale power shortages.

“On behalf of the United Nations family in Cyprus, I want to express my deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of this terrible incident. I wish those injured a speedy recovery,” Ms. Buttenheim added.

Media reports stated that Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu had called Mr. Christofias to express his condolences, and to state the readiness of the Turkish Cypriots to supply electricity to cover the shortage that resulted from the damage of the power plant.


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