26/32. Defending Cyprus from military, man-made, and natural disasters

26/32. Defending Cyprus from military, man-made, and natural disasters

In-depth studies with stakeholders will be commissioned to establish how conscripted soldiers and professional soldiers can spend 3 months learning advanced first aid (between EMT and basic paramedic skill levels) and advanced search and rescue skills in case of a major earthquake in Cyprus or neighbouring countries. This initiative should be open to women aged 18-25 who volunteer to do so. Universities and employers should plan for this.   

For over 60 years the UN has helped keep the peace on our island. If a solution to the Cyprus problem can be negotiated and our island eventually becomes fully demilitarised, I hope a day will come when conscription is replaced with Greek Cypriots wearing UN uniforms being the first on the scene after a natural disaster or famine to coordinate relief anywhere in the world, in part to acknowledge the important role the UN has played in Cyprus, but also to proudly show our Cyprus flag prominently displayed on UN uniforms worldwide.

I sincerely hope such a day happens in my lifetime; however, until then we must deal with reality…

Longing for global peace does not make me a pacifist. As president, defence will be one of my key priorities. I would seek reports by stakeholders, especially the defence ministry with input from the Greek government, on how to optimise our defence forces with the best equipment and procedures. 

Furthermore, at the time of writing this presidential manifesto, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is cause for grave international concern. If I was elected president today, the first job I would do tomorrow would be to prepare for the worst and urgently involve all government departments.

The answers I would seek would be to ‘war-game’ a scenario if the British bases that currently share our island were attacked, whether by conventional or, God forbid, chemical, small tactical nuclear, or similar weapons. I would want urgent advice on ordering iodine tablets and protective suits, evacuation procedures, and hospital preparedness for everyone affected. As an example, estimate the blast zone and radioactive fallout of a small nuclear bomb dropped on Akrotiri to Limassol city here: https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/ (Warning: some may find this link distressing.) 

Other emergencies: plans must be drafted now

Many aspects of the Cyprus government’s pandemic management were questionable. The government should treat citizens as adults, not as a yaya dealing with a 10-year-old. If there was a future pandemic, enough hospital capacity must be available with contingency planning, so the country doesn’t shut down. Other future emergencies which must be planned for:

  1. What if in the 2030s Limassol regularly reaches 45°C in August due to global warming? What if there are annual extreme water shortages?
  2. What if our farmers can’t buy seed due to some international event such as genetically modified plants going haywire?
  3. What if there was a massive earthquake in Nicosia? Or a tsunami that hit Paphos or Limassol?
  4. What if our international network cables are cut? How will phones and the internet work?
  5. How and where will command and control take place if the government and relevant agencies are uncontactable? Subject to public consultation, I will propose Athens, and if Greece was unavailable due to the same emergency, I would possibly propose a 3rd country with reciprocal plans.   

Summary: A president that does not plan for disaster is not fit to be president. I urge the government to do the above planning now.          


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