The Republic of Cyprus consists of 6 administrative districts: Famagusta, Kyrenia (under Turkish occupation), Larnaca, Limassol, Nicosia, and Paphos.
At a national level, the main mission of Cyprus Civil Defence is to perform various humanitarian tasks intended to protect the civilian population, help it recover from the immediate effects of hostilities or disasters, and provide the conditions necessary for its survival.
At ministerial level, the Minister of Interior on behalf of the Council of Ministers is responsible for the implementation of the Cyprus Law and By-Law and other relevant directives and has the overall supervision and control of the civil defence system. The Minister coordinates the services and organisations declared "essential" for civil defence purposes. Thus, the responsibility of civil defence rests with the Ministry of Interior.
According to legislation, the Civil Defence Force is organised as civil defence units in almost all urban areas, which are mainly staffed by conscripts and volunteers. The Cyprus Civil Defence members, who are apportioned among the various units, receive basic training and are later trained and positioned in different divisions of the Civil Defence. These different divisions are first aid, the telecommunication section, the welfare section, the rescue and fire-fighting section, and the neighbourhood watch section.
The Council of Ministers approves the General Civil Defence Plan, which defines the role, duties, and responsibilities of all components of the civil defence system. According to these roles, duties and responsibilities, each component of the civil defence system (mainly the "essential services") has to elaborate civil defence plans to deal with contingencies, which may arise due to natural hazards or manmade disasters.
There is no specific legislation or prevention plan regarding prevention measures in general. Prevention measures are taken by various departments through their legislation and sometimes these are reflected in plans such as the Egkelados plan, which is being revised, and in which there will be a reference to the use of “Eurocode 8: Design of structures for earthquake resistance”. Additionally in the planning of the water development department, there is a provision for the construction of halting dams in flooding incidents.
The National Risk Assessment Report identifies the following risks:
Risk management planning
Risk management planning is conducted through the risk management plans where the complete disaster cycle is taken into account. A risk reduction strategy is also in progress.
Part of the training that the Civil Defence provides to conscripts and volunteers relates to self-protection measures concerning natural hazards and man-made disasters. In addition, the Civil Defence supports the Ministry of Education Culture, Sport and Youth in educating pupils on the measures they need to take to protect themselves following a disaster.
The Civil Defence has also produced leaflets that it disseminates at different events that are also available in Greek on its website.
Risk communication and awareness raising
Cyprus Civil Defence is currently in the process of creating a risk communication strategy.
Training and exercises
Cyprus Civil Defence conscripts follow a training programme for a year; for their second year of service, they move from the second wave of response to the first wave. Training continues for the second year and it comprises more practical matters and exercises. Subjects from the EU Civil Protection Mechanism training programme have been included in the national training.
National exercise programs are held, at national, regional, and local level. Exercises include the following:
- Earthquake exercises, among these “Egkelados”
- Seveso II exercise
- Search and rescue exercises
- Welfare exercises
- Telecommunication Exercises
- Adverse weather conditions
- Evacuation of population in various scenarios
The responsible organisation for inter-agency civil protection (horizontal exercises) is the Cyprus Civil Defence.
Early warning systems
Early warning systems towards professionals:
- ECURIE (radiological/nuclear)
Early warning systems towards the population: Electronic sirens with island-wide coverage. An island-wide ultra-high frequency radio system is used as an operating system. The sirens can be activated to alert the population during different disasters. The system also allows the transmission of vocal and pre-recorded messages.
According to the ZENON plan that the Council of Ministers approved, relevant services had to prepare specific national plans concerning the range of disasters. The plans provide for different levels of activation according to the size of the disaster. When the event is deemed to be a large-scale disaster, a special ministerial group convenes to coordinate the measures taken to address the disaster.
Cross-border, European and international cooperation
Cyprus Civil Defence through the various plans of action and specifically through an appendix to every national plan is committed to provide host nation support to all members of teams/ experts that dispatched in an emergency.
Facts & figures
General contact point
Civil Defence Main Control Centre
- The civil defense (general) regulations of 1997
- Political defense (general) (amendments) regulations 2006
- Political defense (general) (amendments) regulations 2004
- The political defense law of 1996
- The political defense (amendment) law 1998