[Sawiris announced his offer on his Twitter account, making worldwide headlines.(Reuters) ]
Miami: Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, Chief Executive of Orascom TMT, has offered to buy a vacant island in the Mediterranean Sea and develop it to house thousands of refugees fleeing Syria.
Sawiris announced his offer on his Twitter account, making worldwide headlines.
He made a call to, “Greece or Italy sell me an island, I’ll call its independence and host the migrants and provide jobs for them building their new country."
Sawiris's announcement came a day after pictures of a 3-year-old Syrian child drowned in a beach in Turkey went viral. The toddler, Aylan Kurdi, died along with his 5-year-old brother and mother on Wednesday.
Sawiris said during a television interview that he was willing to approach Greek and Italian governments about purchasing an island, regardless of the challenges and difficulties in regulations.
According to AFP, the billionaire is confident his plan would work: “Of course it’s feasible. You have dozens of islands which are deserted and could accommodate hundreds of thousands of refugees," he noted.
The Egyptian mogul even talked to AFP about a plan for infrastructure.
He said there would be “temporary shelters to house the people, then you start employing the people to build housing, schools, universities, hospitals. And if things improve [in their country], whoever wants to go back, goes back."
The presumed cost of these Mediterranean islands ranges between $10 million and $100 million.
More than 3 million Syrians fled their country in the last few years of conflict and civil war in Syria and over 2,500 refugees lost their lives seeking new lands to live, according to the UN Refugee Agency.