01-02-2016Reuters

The Council of Majorca is on the point of formalising the twinning agreement with the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios, both near to the Turkish coast and on the route of those fleeing the conflict in Syria. The criterion for the Council in making this arrangement - the only such one in Europe - will be to help slow the migration process while affording refugees some dignity from the time they arrive.

Aid is to be channelled via the Majorcan Solidarity Fund (Fons Mallorquí de Solidaritat). The first aim is to supply resources to local authorities in helping them to look after children. Money, material and technicians are to be made available, with assistance needed in particular to tackle the problem of waste caused by the influx of refugees.

President Miquel Ensenyat is expected to visit the two islands, and a call is to be made for additional aid from all local institutions, including town halls, and from the private sector.

Lesbos and Chios have more than three thousand years of history and embody the origins of Western civilisation. Chios, the name comes from the son of Poseidon, is where it is commonly believed that both Homer and Hippocrates were born. Lesbos was the island of the poetess Sappho, whose expression of love for women was to mean that the island gave the word lesbian. It is 1,650 square kilometres in size, which is under half the size of Majorca, and has some 100,000 inhabitants. It is, nevertheless, the third largest of the Greek islands and, as is the case with the other islands, lives off tourism. Run by the Communist Party, its leaders have been pleased by the aid offered by Majorca. Tents, blankets and, above all, money are needed, with the Greek government in no real state to provide it.

Chios is half the size of Lesbos and has half the number of inhabitants. It is noted for its production of wine, figs and olives.


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