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Study On Health Effects of Explosion - MP

cyprus explosionThe Ministry of Health is to set up a medical centre in Mari to start a study on the health effects of the explosion, and has already registered a long list of servicemen, police, and firemen who were at the blast zone before and after the detonation on July 11th, said DISY MP Dr. Stella Kyriakidou.

The exact location of the medical centre where people can register for the study will be announced soon, she said.

"This is usually done after a serious event like this...people are asked to register so they can be monitored over time for any long-term or short-term effects," said Kyriakidou, who is a child psychologist.

The MP said she has received many phone calls from people who were in the vicinity of the explosion, and they are worried about their health because they felt bad. The worry in itself can also have a negative effect on someone's overall health, said Kyriakidou. At the very least, anyone who was in the area just after the explosion would have inhaled a lot of dust, which could trigger allergic reactions, she said.

"The key message though, is that so far, the tests have not shown any toxic substances," said Kyriakidou, who is on the House environmental committee.

On Friday July 22nd, the director of the state laboratory Dr. Poppi Kannari will present the committee with her final report on the findings of multiple tests on soil, air, seawater, sea sediment and water samples. Dr. Kyriakidou said she will make an announcement on the findings immediately after the meeting.

"I have absolute confidence in Dr. Kannari, I know her well and talk with her every day," said Kyriakidou.

Asked whether the Health Services had handled the crisis well, the MP said that its performance had been satisfactory, but there were some problems.

"The ministry only told people on Wednesday not to eat the food from the area. There was a two-day delay, and a lot of people felt bad that they ate produce from there," she said.

Luckily, so far there is no evidence of contamination from heavy metals, non-heavy metals or depleted uranium from anti-tank shells in the 98 containers which blew up at the naval base, she said.

Another issue is that there is no liaison between the Ministry of Health and the army and there should be, she said. The problem was that police and servicemen entered the blast zone immediately after the explosion in the early morning hours of July 11th. They were not wearing any protective gear like masks or gloves.

"I do not agree with this decision. It was just lucky that so far there is no evidence of toxins in the area," said Kyriakidou, who received a lot of complaints from the parents of soldiers, sailors and firemen.

"This (decision) was wrong," she said.

The blast was one of the biggest conventional weapons explosions on the planet, precautions to protect the personnel who went in after the explosion should have been taken, said Kyriakidou.

The ministry's next responsibility is to follow up on the study, she said.

At 5:55am on July 11th, 98 containers with explosives blew up at the Evangelos Florakis naval base, killing 13 men and buckling two of the large fuel tankers at the power station.

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